Tracing the emigrations of his family over more than half a century, expatriate Iraqi Samir pays homage to the frustrated democratic dreams of a people successively plagued by dictatorship, war and foreign occupation.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
The modern history of Iraq, from the struggle against British colonialism to the chaotic aftermath of the US invasion, is traced through the dispersal of one extended family in this moving documentary.
“Filmmaker Samir was born in Baghdad and has lived in Switzerland since he was a child, while the members of his extended family are scattered all over the world – Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles, Buffalo, London, Paris, Zurich, and Moscow – with only a handful remaining in Iraq. Recounting his family’s stories of departures and uprootings, Samir also chronicles how Iraqis’ dreams of building a modern and just society after their nation achieved independence in the 1950s were brutally dashed over the course of half a century…
Weaving together the ironic, wistful, and witty testimonies of Samir’s relatives with rare documents from private and state archives, Ottoman era film footage and 3D technology, Iraqi Odyssey is a riveting epic that creates a genuine people’s history of Iraq, at once humble and majestic.” — Rasha Salti, Toronto International Film Festival
“Iraqi Odyssey aims ambitiously high in its investigation of the effects of history on one large middle-class family, and it succeeds in conveying a sense of impotent regret felt by family members forced into exile around the world. Whereas Western journalism has focused on mass migrations and the tragedy of the boat people, this is a timely reminder that even the well-to-do, well-educated and well-connected are the victims of war and dictatorship.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter