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Kasim Abid’s Life After the Fall //


afterthefall_fenUK based Iraqi documentary filmmaker Kasim Abid returned to his hometown, Baghdad, in 2003 after nearly 30 years of living in exile. Initially intending to establish a school for documentary film making, he soon undertook a project with his own family recording their daily lives for a period of three years following the American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. His film, Life After the Fall, is a heart wrenching depiction of a family initially full of hope and aspirations for the future, only to find themselves three years later, living in fear and despair.

As opposed to the many tragic stories of faceless and/or nameless Iraqis that appear in the media, Abid’s film humanizes the Iraqis and their suffering. Iraqis are not just the numbers of wounded or dead by daily military raids or bombings, they are real people with ambitions and struggles. Baghdad’s volatile state is also well represented in film; the physical shock of a nearby bombing puts Abid’s family on edge, while in another incident in, his niece is harassed at gunpoint on the way to university for wearing makeup and dressing in Western attire. The trip that his two nieces make to Jordan further highlights the chaotic and unstable situation in Baghdad. Amman is shown as organized and clean city, filled with modern buildings and shopping centers; a stark contrast to its neighbor. The sudden and tragic kidnapping of Abid’s brother, Ali, constitutes the climax of the film, as the bitter battles of Baghdad’s religious factions begin to affect the lives of all Iraqi citizens.

Life After the Fall
was recently screened as part the MoMa film series entitled Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from 1960s to Now. The film has won several awards including: Best Film at Munich International Film Festival, the Golden Hawk Prize at the Arab Film Festival in Rotterdam, and Best Film at the Arab Film Festival in California.


About the Author: Lila NAZEMIAN is an intern for FEN. She is currently a graduate student at NYU studying Near Eastern Studies at the Hagop Kevorkian Center.

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