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My Country, My Country (Unrated)

Release Date: August 4th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Zeitgeist Films.
Directed by Laura Poitras.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Dr. Riyadh, a medical doctor and family man who runs for office during the January 2005 Sunni elections in Iraq.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: After many documentaries about the war in Iraq such as Voices in Iraq, The War Tapes and The Blood of My Brother, My Country, My Country gives slightly more human perspective of the war through the eyes of Dr. Riyadh, a political candidate for the Sunni, Iraqi Islamic Party. Dr. Riyadh clearly has an uphill battle because many Sunnis are not accustomed to voting and, as it turns out, only 2% of Sunnis ended up voting. Not surprisingly, security is extra tight on the day of elections for fears of bombings—which do occur. Riyadh risks his own life during the election because any day he could be potentially assassinated by insurgents who threaten to kill him and anyone who votes at all. Meanwhile US soldiers occupy Iraq while trying to instill democracy. Unintentionally, their occupation leads to tension, fear and a general sense of unrest and confusion. Director Laura Poitras does a great job of showing him beyond his political agendas as an everyman with a family—six children and a wife—who support him and a career as a doctor. She does a great job of capturing the everyday life in Iraq through expert cinematography. It’s also worth mentioning that My Country, My Country never gets too preachy or unfocused which helps to keep it engaging and fascinating from start to finish.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The struggle of a good, kind man such as Dr. Riyadh who courageously risks everything to change the political status quo in his country is very moving and, in some ways, like a hero. Basically, he, just like the US soldiers, wants to move the country into the right direction to give it a better, safer future which, unfortunately, is easier said than done.



IN A NUTSHELL: Illuminating. A timely and thoroughly fascinating documentary.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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