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Iraq in Fragments

(2006) ** 1/2 Unrated
94 min. Typecast Releasing.
The beautifully photographed digital doc Iraq in Fragments is consistently frustrating, but still a valuable glimpse into contemporary Iraq. Director James Longley devotes roughly a half-hour to each of three segments of the Iraqi populace: Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. By putsting a special emphasis on children, Longley highlights the pressures weighing on Iraq's future without providing much useful information about the forces operating within the country today. The first segment focuses on discouraged 11-year-old Mohammed Haithem, shamed by having failed first grade twice and abused by his auto-mechanic boss/surrogate father (Mohammed's real father is missing, and his mother and grandmother never appear on camera). Part two, though never incisive, more usefully navigates the political and religious mindset and harsh action of Moqtada Sadr's Shiite followers, and the third segment spends some time with rural Kurds.
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