© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
My Country, My Country
An image from My Country,
My Country
, Laura Poitras,
USA, 2005; 90 min.

       Iraq continues
to dominate the headlines
here in the United States.
Despite holding elections
in January 2005, the country is still trying to hammer out a constitution
and a form of government that will replace the dictatorship of Saddam

       Laura Poitras' documentary,
My Country, My County, which was made
under the auspices of P.O.V., which airs on many PBS stations, provides
in intriguing look at some of the problems that Iraq faces. The film moves
from July 2004 to shortly after the elections in January 2005. Poitras
was lucky in that she managed to find an interesting character around
which to build her film. He is Dr. Riyadh al-Adhadh, a Sunni who operates
a clinic in the Adhamiya neighborhood of Baghdad. The doctor is very
clear in his opposition to the American intervention in his country. His
views are that the country need to create an Islamic democracy and
he sees one of the means to accomplish that goal is to run for parliament.

       Interspersed with scenes of Dr. Riyadh are sequences about the
elections. When in July 2004, the U.S. ambassador  invokes a theatrical
metaphor, that becomes something of a recurring theme. Members of
the U.S. military refer to the "show" and they tout how those who will vote
will appear on television, among other things.

       Overall, the documentary works as an interesting side view into
history in the making. Part of the problem with the film, though, is that
some of the scenes with the doctor and his family and the doctor and
his patients have a staged feel to them -- as if, they were also putting
on a "show."

  Rating:         B -