DDocumentary Feature Competition
In My Mother's Arms
In My Mother's ArmsOriginal Title: Fi Ahdan Ummi
Director: Atia Jabarah Al-Daradji, Mohamed Al Daradji
Iraq, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates | Arabic
Sadr City, in suburban Baghdad, has had its fair share of morbid notoriety. Since the fall of Saddam’s regime, the poverty-stricken district has been featured in the news because of explosions or armed clashes that claim civilian lives. In My Mother’s Arms
is a documentary about an unlikely house there, where young victims of violence are given a new lease on life.
The invasion of Iraq has left thousands of children homeless. When he discovered the abysmal horrors in government-run orphanages in Baghdad, Husham, a citizen in his late thirties, established a makeshift foster home on his own. In 2009, Mohamed Al Daradji and his brother, Atia, had just wrapped production on Son of Babylon in Baghdad when they learned of Husham’s herculean mission. In many ways, it seemed to embody the predicament of the country. Bound by a shared sorrow of facing life without the love and stability of a family, the orphaned boys seemed like a microcosm of Iraq’s ethnic, cultural, religious and class mosaic.
The two brothers set up their cameras and filmed the daily routine of the house for nine months –the uncanny kinship between the boys, humble moments of playfulness, squabbling and coping. But when the landlord raises the rent, Husham and his troupe face the prospect of eviction. To distract from that frightful prospect, the boys stage a musical performance, giving voice to their longing for the embrace of a mother’s unconditional love, what they hunger for most.