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film review

Nowhere to Hide follows a man through five years of dramatic change in the war-torn Diyala province of Iraq.

Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in late 2011, a nurse with a small video camera documents the victims of the ensuing violence that devastates the country. He's Nori Sharif, a content husband, grateful father of four and subject of an immersive, compact and unpolished documentary from the Kurdish-born, Oslo-based filmmaker Zaradasht Ahmed.

There's a lot to be disturbed about, but what upsets Sharif the most is the senselessness of "an undiagnosed war" that defies explanation. "You see symptoms," he explains, "but you don't understand the disease." Victors and spoils are not obvious. Nothing is accomplished but loss, confusion and body-maiming chaos. "Even the opportunists don't benefit any more," he says.

The turning point of the film comes when Sharif and his family are forced to flee their home in the face of advancing Islamic State forces. After 13 stops, they land in a refugee camp. He's no longer reporting on the sufferers of the warring. He's become one.

Writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani say revisiting the time Gordon was in a coma in 'The Big Sick' gave them new perspectives on the situation. Nanjiani also stars in the rom-com, which is based on their relationship.

The Canadian Press

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