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Homeland (Iraq Year Zero)
by Abbas Fahdel

Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) is a riveting home-movie chronicle of life in Iraq before and after the US invasion. Offering all-too-rare images of everyday life in Iraq, the film closely follows extended family members and friends of director Abbas Fahdel as they brace for the long impending attack and then struggle to survive the disastrous consequences of American imperialism. Leaving the invasion itself eerily absent, Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) is cleaved into two epic chapters starkly separated by a dark, gaping chasm. Before the Fall offers a touching portrait of middle-class Iraq, assembled from extended domestic scenes and debates among Baghdad friends and neighbors, as well as a wedding that becomes an emotional centerpiece of the entire film. After the Battle bravely takes to the street to survey, with shock and unspoken outrage, the ruthless destruction of public and private space wrought by the occupying US forces.

Homeland counts among the most essential and urgent documentaries of recent times, required viewing for anyone still unable to understand the US invasion. At times recalling Frederick Wiseman, Fahdel's intrepidly curious yet always unassuming camera patiently gathers intimate moments to assemble a rough-hewn epic of naturalist cinema and a searing, courageous act of testimony. – Haden Guest

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