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My Country, My Country

9 customer reviews

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(Mar 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Working alone in Iraq over eight months, American filmmaker Laura Poitras follows Iraqi physician Dr. Riyadh--father of six and Sunni political candidate--for an unforgettable journey into the heart of war-ravaged Iraq in the months leading up to the January 2005 elections. An outspoken critic of the occupation, Dr. Riyadh is equally passionate about building democracy in Iraq. Yet all around him, he sees only chaos, as his waiting room fills each day with patients suffering the physical and mental effects of ever-increasing violence. Dramatically interwoven into his personal journey is the landscape of U.S. military occupation, Australian private security contractors, and the U.N. officials who orchestrated the elections. Luminously photographed and emotionally complex, Oscar-nominated MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY captures the downward spiral of one man caught in the tragic contradictions of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its project to spread democracy in the Middle East.

- 16:9 anamorphic transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- "Abu Ghraib Inspection": 15 minutes of additional footage shot at the notorious Baghdad prison
- Original theatrical trailer
- Additional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Production notes and updates

Produced for PBS series POV, this Oscar-nominated documentary takes an up-close-and-personal look at the occupation of Iraq. While War Tapes explores the situation from the American standpoint, My Country, My Country presents the other side of the equation. And while fellow nominee James Longley (Iraq in Fragments) combines Sunni, Shi'a, and Kurdish perspectives, Laura Poitras (Flag Wars) sets her sights on one Sunni, Baghdad-based Dr. Riyadh. She also takes detours to check in with the US military, UN personnel, and Australian security contractors supervising the 2005 elections, either directly or indirectly (as one notes about the occupation, "It's not all bad, you can have some fun"). Dr. Riyadh, a physician and city council member, runs for a seat on the National Assembly in order to help rebuild his country. Poitras began shooting in 2004 and spent eight months with her protagonist, his wife, and their children. She captures a time of doubt and fear, as shells are constantly exploding in the background. Just as the Iraqi people are wary of the outsiders trying to restore democracy, there is only so much insiders, like Dr. Riyadh, can do. Elegantly shot by the director and set to a mournful score by Kadhum Al Sahir, My Country, My Country may be pessimistic about the prospects for present-day Iraq, but Poitras gives one decent man a voice. For that it remains an invaluable document of its time and place. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • "Abu Ghraib Inspection": 15 minutes of additional footage shot at the notorious Baghdad prison
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Production notes and updates

Product Details

  • Actors: Dr. Riyadh, Aaron Castle
  • Directors: Laura Poitras
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, English, Kurdish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LP5D2E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,875 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Country, My Country" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on April 22, 2007
Given more recent events in Iraq, this wonderful documentary is already somewhat dated, made as it was during the months leading up to the first democratic elections in that country, but it marks an important moment in history as well and deserves a viewing for that reason alone. The central figure, a medical doctor in a Baghdad neighborhood, Dr. Ryadh is a member of a Sunni party, running for election to the country's new parliament. Tenacious in his commitment to his community, he is pulled in many directions by the needs of his patients, his prospective constituents, his friends and family. His story is played out against a background of continuing gunfire and explosions and an unending stream of complaints from those who have lost faith in the American presence and hope for the future. In one sequence a colleague's son is kidnapped for ransom by insurgents, and we watch as the father despairs of ever seeing him alive again.

Meanwhile, cameras visit other parts of the country, including Kurdistan, where anti-Sunni and pro-American opinion prevail. We also follow the months of behind-the-scenes preparation for elections and the precautions taken by contracted security firms, with commentary by international election observers. Branded by some as a "show" for the benefit of the White House and boycotted by Dr. Ryadh's own Sunni party, the election draws long lines of voters anyway, and we watch with appropriate amazement the risks voters take to participate in a process that is taken so lightly in the West. Assembled in a way more akin than most documentaries to the ideals of cinema verite, the film has no narration and leaves it to the audience to interpret much of what it is viewing. A fine and important work.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Krikorian on April 20, 2007
"My Country, My Country" is an opportunity to see Iraq through the life of an Iraqi doctor and his family. The camera perspective is personal and I felt as though I was right there with Dr. Riyadh. The airborne scenes and the country vistas complimented the intimate nature of the coverage of the people involved.

The consequences of the American occupation of Iraq are complex. The politics are complex. I didn't feel imposed upon by some moral message, but rather felt I had a chance to see the depth and interrelationship of viewpoints that allowed me to think for myself. This movie did not clear a lot up for me, but rather gave me a sense of familiarity with the people - a chance to see them as real people and not abstractions. I felt empowered by a far more unprocessed opportunity to gather information for thought.

I wholeheartedly recommend seeing "My Country, My Country" to people whose understanding of "Iraq" comes from nightly news reports or newspaper articles. I believe this documentary is an outstanding way to learn more about the circumstances of recent Iraqi history.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S.D. Sena on October 8, 2007
Laura Poitras is a very brave lady that has put together a very intimate and brilliant documentary of post invasion Iraq. This doco follows the daily activities of a local Dr. Riyadh and his family leading upto the local elections. The personal struggle of this man together with his frustrations and his hopes and dreams for his family and country are very beautifully depicted and most people would be able to empathize with. The total chaos that reigns in the background is very hard to not miss. Personally I found the portrayal of the whole situation on the ground in Iraq to be very disturbing. I can only imagine what it is like for the average Iraqi, allied troops, UN mediators, contractors and diplomats etc who have to deal with this horror on a day to day basis. Even today many months after the actual events of this doco I fear the situation is no better and if anything maybe somewhat worse. I thoroughly recommend this to any viewers interested in the current events of the region. It is a fair portrayal of the country and history without any political bias. Five stars from me!
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful By JustAReader on February 16, 2007
'hearts and minds', then you would know that after we lost the vietnam war, lost so many american soldiers there, the lesson never was learned by those who run our government, president or politicians on the hills. because these people never lost a son or a daughter in a self-righteous and self-serving war. a country full of one kind of people blinded by the 'patriotism' big word, but never understood those invasions and wars got nothing to do with 'patriotism' at all. we invaded other peoples' countries, destroyed their homes, killed their people by first using the excuse of 'fighting the communism' in vietnam, now we just change one word of such slogan, 'fighting the terrorism' to invade iraq. i just don't know who gave us the right to meddle other peoples countries and their lives under the big word of 'patriotism'. what patriotism got anything to do with this godforsaken unjustifiable wars. we ruined their lives but still shamelessly claiming that we're helping them, we're liberating them. we're repeatedly making the same mistakes and tragedies again and again to other peoples and to ourselves. that's why the peoples in other countries when they fought or fignt against us never changed their unique slogan : 'fighting the american imperialism'. and imperialism equals another word in their eyes: 'colonization'.
so far, we americans were blinded by the ridiculous patriotism custom tailored by the corporate friendly government, gave you a false belief that invasion of iraq was justified and the majority iraqi people were so grateful and appreciated what we did to them, by watching this my country, my country, we knew that country is not your country, it's other peoples' country and we absolutely have no right to interfere their own problems.
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