A Tale of War [Hossein Jehani, Iraq, 2018]
Hossein Jehani’s A Tale of War is a harrowing 20-minute documentary from Iraq, which shines an expository light on the lives of refugees that live in fear under the shadow of the Shia militias that have brought destruction upon their community. These people are the unfortunate and desperate victims of a cruel and senseless terror that has lasted long after their homes and livelihoods have been ravaged by the battle waged by the US against religious rebels in the name of ‘liberation’.
We meet families who existed previously in either opposition or support of the ISIS regime and now unified in their state of victimisation and abuse by said faction, as they re-contextualise their lives within the confines of refugee camps. The film gives us a rare insight into the cultural practices and traditions of a once divided community – Sunnis and Shias living together, casting their differences aside and identifying in a common resolve to defend themselves against a far greater spectre of intimidation. In this sense, the people that we come across in the film are in a state of limbo, where there are no clear rules and little hope of sanctuary.
This is a well-produced documentary that dives right into the heart of a dangerous international conflict and gives us a glimpse into the painfully distressing lives of many who, despite their impoverished circumstances, still manage to convey a defiant optimism and leaves us with the sense that, even in the face of terror, there is still room for love, faith and humanity.