In Zaradasht Ahmed’s captivating documentary Nowhere to Hide, Nori Sharif, a nurse from the town of Jalawla, is given a camera and tasked with documenting daily life as the American and coalition troops leave Iraq in 2011. Though a novice when it comes to filming, Nori not only becomes familiar with the camera, but reliant on it. Over the course of five years he captures how life in Central Iraq, known as the “Triangle of Death,” rapidly goes from bad to worse.
As smoke from blown up cars billows in the sky as dawn breaks, and bullet holes and bloody stains offer stark reminders of the daily violence, Ahmed’s film shows that it is the poor who are suffering the most during this conflict. Unsure of who to trust, as even friends can sell them out to ISIS, and with no job options as companies flee the region, Nowhere to Hide is a heartbreaking look at individuals struggling to survive.
One of the strengths of the film is the fact that it ignores the politics that has lead Iraq to this volatile point. Instead, Ahmed’s film simply questions when will the cycle of violence end? At one point a man asks Nori “what’s the point of filming us?” The answer is clear to the audience though. The world needs to see what life is truly like for those who are caught in the crossfire of war. It is nearly impossible to view the daily carnage on display and not feel compassion for Nori, his family, and those he encounters.
Captivating and heartbreaking, Nowhere to Hide is a must-see at the festival. The film screens this Friday.