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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Extraordinary Film
Eric is right - if you want to see an action-packed, fast-moving film about people who think and act in familiar and yet highly exciting and entertaining ways, then this is probably not the film for you. However if you want to treat yourself to a gorgeous, subtle and masterfully-rendered portrait of Iraqi life under occupation, then I highly recommend this film. As a...
Published on July 1, 2007 by Mattole

versus
0 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Documentary? Rather empty video clip...
This doc tells us anything at all. For example, in the second part, we see people fighting in something like a market place (is it? we don't know), and we don't know at all who is fighting and what for. And, that's immoral Mr Longley, this scene is filmed like a video clip. Unlearning doc. Undoc doc. I do not understand all those film festival prices...
Published on July 13, 2008 by Bertrand Portier


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Extraordinary Film, July 1, 2007
By 
Mattole (Lost Coast, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
Eric is right - if you want to see an action-packed, fast-moving film about people who think and act in familiar and yet highly exciting and entertaining ways, then this is probably not the film for you. However if you want to treat yourself to a gorgeous, subtle and masterfully-rendered portrait of Iraqi life under occupation, then I highly recommend this film. As a 28-year veteran of the documentary world and a former director for National Geographic I can wholeheartedly say that this is one of the finest documentaries I have ever seen. The cinematography, music, editing and sound design are superb. The character development is deep and nuanced. I learned a great deal by watching this film, both about Iraqi culture and about the art of filmmaking. May the director James Longley live long, and may he gift us with many more of his films!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true documentary masterpiece, June 26, 2007
By 
Sean Flynn (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
I have to wholeheartedly disagree with the assessment of Eric C. posted below. As a documentary filmmaker myself, I believe Iraq in Fragments is one of the great achievements of non-fiction filmmaking in the last 10 years. James Longley's poetic and visually ravishing film accomplishes in 94 short minutes what 4 years of mainstream journalism have scarcely been able to -- it provides us a rare glimpse into the lives (and perhaps more importantly, minds) of ordinary Iraqis. But it is not merely a work of observational humanism. Through these characters' eyes, the film almost prophetically reveals the larger forces at play as Iraqi society begins to tear apart at the seams following the U.S. invasion -- all without ever becoming overtly political. Though Iraq in Fragments had a great festival run, has received nearly unanimous critical praise, and was nominated for an Oscar, relatively few people had the privilege to see it in the theater, and I hope that will be corrected by this DVD release.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For a true portrait of each of the three sections of Iraq, Iraq in Fragments can't be topped, August 7, 2007
This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
Iraq in Fragments accurately describes not only the moving documentary by James Longley, but also the current political and social situation in the middle eastern country. Presented in three parts - Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish - Iraq in Fragments is a documentary set apart from the rest. Winning Best Documentary Cinematography, Best Documentary Editing, and Best Documentary Director at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, Iraq in Fragments has the official Sundance sanction of being a little better made than the rest of the current documentaries about the war-torn country of Iraq.

Presenting Iraqis in a very human and unbiased way, Iraq in Fragments starts out with the intense portrait of a young Sunni boy named Mohammed who has been "adopted" by a garage owner who mistreats, verbally abuses, and mocks the poor child. His life is examined in detail as he goes from work to school and back again. Listening to the older Sunni men discuss the American occupation around the back door of the garage is akin to listening to American men discuss the war on a back porch next to a barbeque pit. Their opinions may simply be their opinions but they are given ample time to discuss them and the audience is given ample opportunity to digest them.

Part two is devoted to the examination of Shia Sadr followers in two cities as they prepare for elections. An extremely intimate portrayal of Shia "death squads", as they have been called in the American news, shows the Iraqi police as they arrest men for allegedly selling alcohol in a town market. How Longley managed to get the footage he has is anybody's guess. Risking life and limb for the proper shots, Longley is able to present an Iraq few may have ever seen, though several non-fiction books have mentioned the circumstances portrayed.

The final chapter focuses on the Kurdish farmers of Iraq, who welcome the American forces and celebrate the replacement of Saddam. The focus of this chapter is on a young Kurdish boy who dreams of being a doctor some day. This section of the film, entitled Kurdish Spring, is the most moving and ultimately upbeat portion of the film, and marks a good choice for the final piece of the fragmented Iraqi portrait.

Throughout the film, Longley opts for intimate stories of individuals rather than a broad portrayal of all of Iraq, and he succeeds on all accounts. This may leave some viewers slightly confused, however, as each section is not properly introduced as Sunni, Shia, or Kurdish. Iraq in Fragments is a film dedicated to the educated viewer, and those who have done their research on Iraq will surely appreciate the individually honest portraits that Longely has painted here. For well studied filmgoers, Iraq in Fragments offers the kind of inside view of a wartorn country that we have been waiting for. The story is not bogged down or enmeshed in a narrator's diaglogue, designed to sway the viewer's opinion in any direction; the footage is simply displayed as is. Longley spent upwards of two years in Iraq gathering this footage, and it was well worth the while. For a true portrait of each of the three sections of Iraq, Iraq in Fragments can't be topped.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet Artfully Complex, July 19, 2007
This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
"Iraq in Fragments" reflects the lives of ordinary Iraqis, their misery, hope, anger, joy, and desperation. It is divided into three parts, following at first a young apprentice in Baghdad, a Shia cleric in Sadr city, and a young brick maker in Kurdistan. The cinematography is stunning, and Longley deserves the accolades for achieving such art on a solo project. Each sequence is beautifully shot and intelligently edited, capturing with uncommon clarity the prismatic complexity and depth of this world to which so few care to listen. "Iraq in Fragments" does not impose political ideology, economic theory, or any other arm-chair speculation. It is a portrait of human beings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Documentary, but be aware when buying, September 23, 2012
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This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
Good Oscar Nominated Documentary about their lives and the real everyday living in Iraq.

Special Features on disc 2:
'Sari's Mother': An Oscar Nominated Documentary Short
'Iraq Before the War'
Director Interview
Short Films by students from Baghdad's Independent Film and Television College

BE AWARE BEFORE YOU BUY THIS. Check with the seller first. Most of the dvds that the sellers are shipping out is the 1-disc version.

This 2-disc dvd set has been discontinued. The picture on the cover art shows "the sky with black smoke".
The 1-disc dvd set is pictured with "a boy standing in his village looking at the camera with a building up in flames with black smoke going up in the sky". The 1-disc set doesn't include the special features that are on the second disc of the 2-disc set.

Most of the dvds that the sellers are shipping out is the 1-disc version. They listed their dvds under the wrong listing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fine, impartial documentary that is still human and real, February 21, 2010
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
Iraq In Fragments paints a very honest portrait of just what went on (and, to a large extent, still goes on) in this country after America (and a very small handful of allied troops) entered Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's regime and, essentially, secure the country so that we could have its oil and then eventually give Iraq back to its people as a democracy. Unfortunately, this film shows us quite clearly that not all is going smoothly; instead we witness many horrors of war and great strife; there is also great animosity between the Shias, the Sunnis and the Kurds, the three major groups living in Iraq. As a film goes, this is excellent. The cinematography is outstanding and the camera catches fantastic glimpses of what the countryside, an Iraqi city and even Baghdad look like; it was very educational for me. The movie says what it has to say in an impartial way with a pace that doesn't ever feel rushed which is also very good.

We see three stories of people in different areas of Iraq as they struggle amidst the chaos that ruled after Hussein's regime toppled and the Iraqi people were forced to start to think seriously and critically about what type of government they wanted. In Baghdad, for example, there is a young Sunni boy named Mohammed; his father was put away by Saddam's regime and at a very tender age Mohammed was forced to drop out of school and support both his mother and his grandmother. His "boss" pretends to care about the young boy but we see many instances of abuse as the man yells at Mohammed, hits him and curses him to the point where the young lad cries; it really broke my heart. I am rooting for this young man and I hope he finds the "beautiful country" he wants.

In the second segment we see Shia Sadr and the people of a very conservative religious movement which calls for elections but with a type of democracy that yet doesn't include women as equal members of society. It's striking to see how much violence there can be in the name of God; and there are scenes of men being arrested by this group for supposedly selling alcohol that are both violent and disturbing.

The third segment is equally poignant. We see the Kurds who have been bitterly fighting the other two groups and they claim that their outlook on religion is the most righteous one. There is a sweet tale of the friendship between two young boys growing up in the countryside and we also meet the father of one of them who wants so badly for his children's lives to be better than his life was. The Kurds are also the group that is most comfortable with the American presence in Iraq.

The DVD includes an interview with director James Longley.

Overall, Iraq In Fragments takes an impartial yet empathic look at what was going on in Iraq at the time this film was made; and many if not all of these conflicts still exist today. I highly recommend this for people studying Iraqi culture and foreign policy issues. People who enjoy documentaries related to current events or politics will also want this for their collections.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Thought-Provoking, April 18, 2008
This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
"Iraq in Fragments" is a play on words. On one level, the documentary shows how fragmented the country is. The tale is told in three parts: from the vantage point of a young boy in Baghdad, a glimpse of life in Sadr City among the followers of Moqtada al Sadr, and the Kurds of the rural northern region. On another level, the film tells its story in fragments.

It is tempting to paint this as an anti-American film, or a film biased against the current American occupation. It is also easy to become very depressed considering the intractable problems in this country and the fact that neither indefinite occupation nor quick withdrawal offer any easy answers or solutions.

Life in Sadr City is marked by masked armed thugs raiding the markets, snatching away "suspects" whose "crime" is allegedly selling alcohol. This is the Iraqi democracy that the people there want?

Vignettes of the Kurdish north offer a different perspective, with some of the people there seeing America as having liberated the Kurds from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Have they replaced it with a better life? You may not like the answer.

"Iraq in Fragments" offers a grim view - at least one perspective - on the festering wound that this country has become. No answers are offered. Where you stand vis a vis the documentary may well depend on where you sit.
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0 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Documentary? Rather empty video clip..., July 13, 2008
By 
Bertrand Portier (TAHITI FRENCH POLYNESIA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
This doc tells us anything at all. For example, in the second part, we see people fighting in something like a market place (is it? we don't know), and we don't know at all who is fighting and what for. And, that's immoral Mr Longley, this scene is filmed like a video clip. Unlearning doc. Undoc doc. I do not understand all those film festival prices...
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6 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money, December 25, 2008
Typical anti-American rant by an ungrateful nation of sheeple. Also, this is a good example of why Amazon should allow for a "0 Star" review.
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1 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't tell much at all....., June 25, 2007
By 
This review is from: Iraq in Fragments (DVD)
I must say this was rather dull to sit through and I was very tempted to hit the fast-forward button on many occasions. This amatuerish piece of work focuses on the personal lives of ordinary Iraqis- Sunni, Shia, and Kurd alike. The people being interviewed talk at length about irrelevant details of their lives there: school, work, their families, their hobbies, etc. It seems the main idea of this movie is for us to feel some type of personal connection to them?? There are very few things here that most viewers will be able to relate to or understand, if that is the director's intention. The only redeeming part of the film is the middle segment, which focuses on the Shia population in Sadr City. It offers an amusing glimpse into the local culture and politics that you really can't see on our local news channels.
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Iraq in Fragments
Iraq in Fragments by James Longley (DVD - 2007)
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