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Our River… Our Sky 12A

Maysoon Pachachi, UK, France, Germany, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, 2021, 117m.

*The screening on 23 October will be followed by a Q&A with director Maysoon Pachachi.

Sara is a single mother and novelist, shocked into silence, at a time of extreme sectarian violence and nightly curfews in Baghdad. She and her neighbours invite us into their everyday lives, as their world fragments and they attempt to renew a fragile sense of hope for a better future.

Set in 2006 against the backdrop of intense sectarian war, Our River…  Our Sky follows the stories of a small Baghdad community trying to find some semblance of normality and hope despite unpredictable violence, turmoil, and loss.

Dedicated to the youth of Iraq, Maysoon Pachachi’s film offers a glance at the realities of ordinary life in Baghdad, a stark contrast to past Western media portrayals of the 2003 US-led invasion and its catastrophic aftermath. A raw and powerful display of humanity, Pachachi’s film explores identity and nationalism, and what it means to belong.

Sara, a struggling writer and anxious mother played by Darina Al Joundi, is the heart of the community. Unable to write surrounded by trauma and devastation, she frantically monitors the death toll and uses her literacy skills to help her neighbours translate their pleas to the Americans.

Her story is interwoven with those of her neighbours – Dijla who suffers from depression, Mona who lost her children in a past abusive relationship, and a grieving Haider falling into bad company – to name a few.

Through the chaos and destruction, the residents never let their ambitions and desires for the future fade. Yet, they can’t help but contemplate leaving Iraq, and are forced to ask a painful question – who does Baghdad really belong to?

Zainab Joda, Darina Al Joundi, Amed Hashimi, Mahmoud Abo Al Abbas, Basim Hajar, Labwa Arab, Meriam Abbas, Siham Mustafa

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