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There are moments of great tension in this film about the work of an extraordinarily brave mine-disposal expert, or “deminer”, in Iraq. It is of real value in the raw archive material it presents, though often frustrating in that its footage is mostly presented without editorial perspective, almost like a rough assemblage of videotape.
Col Fakhir Berwari was a Kurdish army officer who was a US military liaison in Iraq between 2003 and 2008, disarming booby-trap devices set by jihadi insurgents using little more than a pair of pliers to snip the wires. With no small sense of his own heroism, Fakhir got a subordinate to film him with a videocamera (though this documentary never comments on the secondary heroism of this camera operator) and it gives us some hair-raising moments from this video cache that his son Abdulla later discovered.
Later, when Fakhir has been badly and inevitably injured in his work, we see him resume the anti-mine battle in Mosul and elsewhere, disabling devices set by Islamic State, which are triggered by cellphone calls. At this point, the footage is being more professionally shot by the film’s co-director Shinwar Kamal. When you see the indefatigable Fakhir picking his way around a mined building and you suddenly hear a mobile phone ring out, it is heartstopping.
I would have liked a closer look at this remarkable, but rather opaque figure. It is almost like a home movie. But what a home movie.
Source: The Guardian
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