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The Blood of My Brother
The Blood of My Brother
Director: Andrew Berends
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2006     1hr 24min

The Blood of My Brother shows the war in Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family grieving the loss of a son who was killed by an American patrol as he stood guard at a mosque. The subtle dynamic between grief and rag...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Andrew Berends
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary, Military & War
Studio: Lifesize Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Full length,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/07/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Arabic, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Superbly produced documentary about the Shia insurgency in I
Joseph Choo | San Francisco | 01/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is flat-out one of the best documentaries I've seen thus far concerning the Iraq War. Andrew Berends captures the torment/anguish/ennui felt by a family of Shiite Iraqis living in Kadhamiya after one of their own is cut down by an American soldier as he was guarding a sacred mosque located within the district. It's difficult to discern whether or not the death of this young man was unprovoked. However the circumstances surrounding his death are moot and secondary to the primary motif running through the film: the reality of violence so pervasive that it is simply impossible to escape it. The cinematography is top-notch and combined with the superb editing gives the movie a narrative component that I've never quite seen in other documentaries. Highly highly recommended."
Interesting, but flawed documentary
Manfred Zeichmann | Austria | 01/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"THE BLOOD OF MY BROTHER documentary follows Ibrahim, a young Shiite man in his early twenties during a period of some weeks in spring/summer 2004. Ibrahim`s older brother Ra'ad was killed by American soldiers while on duty guarding the Kadhimiya mosque in Bagdad. The viewer is witness to Ibrahim`s and his family`s efforts to come to term with the loss of their loved one. Extended scenes show visits to Ra'ad`s grave or Ibrahim, his mother and sister recollecting. Ibrahim dreams of revenge and joining the resistance movement, but feels compelled to support his family by running his late brother's photography shop.
Interspersed is - often quite gruesome - footage of the insurgency and the turmoil in Iraq, ranging from streetfighting in the Sadr City slum in Bagdad (where a crowd of Shiites cheer at the wreck of a downed American Apache helicopter) to grim scenes of wounded civilians. The viewer accompanies American soldiers searching the homes of suspects and interrogating them or stands right behind an insurgent sniper. These particular scenes are really outstanding and scary, as you are right in the middle of it. A particular frightening episode has Iraqi policemen opening fire on apparently unarmed Shiite demonstrators in Najaf.
This is quite powerful and harrowing footage.
It should be pointed out however that the documentary has its lighter sides as well. Even in the carnage of today`s Iraq there is sometimes some semblence of normalcy, like when we witness Ibrahim with friends at a carp barbecue on the Tigris riverbank, or Ibrahim in attendance at a horse race in a deleted scene in the DVD's extra features section.

My problem with THE BLOOD OF MY BROTHER is the lack of context. There should be explanatory narration or title cards regarding several incidents or persons involved (like the Shiite cleric Moqtada es-Sadr). So unless you are knowledgeable about the Iraqi situation, you will likely feel a bit lost.
An asset of the documentary is the great ethnic score, which deserves special mention. The music fits perfectly to the images!
The subtitles are easy on the eyes. There are also nothing to complain about regarding extra features. There is the film's trailer, which sells the documentary well and about a dozen deleted scenes, running about 30 minutes in total (some interviews with American soldiers about their experiences, a lengthy sequence detailing the raid on an Iraqi suspect's home, several scenes about Ibrahim, a trip to a filthy open-air slaughterhouse and a scene detailing the sale of black market gasolene)."
Raw and Real.
C. A. Lemley | 12/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This well-produced documentary styled 'movie' will sober you up if you're still punch drunk from the State of Denial political press. Thematically focuses on a homeland's natural reflex to invasion and occupation. Throws you headlong straight into the mix - into Iraqi cities, streets, alleys, vendor shops, mosques, graveyards and homes of its citizens to make an uncensored point of the whole hellish mess. If you are clueless as to Middle Eastern culture (i.e. religious, economical and sociological mores) and wish to increase your understanding or deepen your perspective, this little movie will pry your eyes wide. After the movie, go to Main Movie setup screen and watch all the deleted scenes as it is all very foundational footage. Warning: This movie is stark. Recommended preliminary reading materials: The Iraq Study Group Report (can be downloaded in Adobe format on the Internet - about 100 pages long on regular typing paper)."
Undisputable gratitude
Michael Kerjman | 07/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not to judge -and you not to be judged upon.

A lose of the closest relative is a tragedy to any family, in Iraq, the USA or any other place worldwide.

From the very beginning of a doco by de facto blaming the US army for the fatal shooting down of illegally armed-guarding the musk, inextricably linking this death with known political changes in Iraq and, as a result from family tragedy, a growing insurgency hardly meets objectivity.

Naked Iraqi home truth of lawless sustaining very grounds of this country since artificial establishing of her about a century ago is factually the most steadily destabilizing factor of Iraqi society, not surprisingly bringing about a recorded during a film repeatedly openly manifested intention to kill any "American and Jew".

The producers should be priced for their personal bravery while recording the happenings, of which explicit depiction triggers viewer's undisputable gratitude to those preventing the reality of such manifestation on the streets in their own countries.