Nowhere to Hide

A documentary about an Iraq nurse who films his life after the American military withdrew and the country fell (further) apart.

Despite being saddled with a generic title that makes it sound like a 1990s made-for-TV movie starring Scott Bakula and Rosanna Arquette, Zaradasht Ahmed’s documentary Nowhere to Hide is a you-are-there gut-punch about Iraq after the American military’s 2011 withdrawal. Director Ahmed gave a camera to nurse Nori Sharif to film his life in the especially war-torn Diyala Province — Diyala Diaries actually would have actually made a great, distinctive title, and one not shared by an Investigation Discovery show — Nori’s footage shows him struggling to make sense of a war that has long since moved beyond anything resembling reason.

He notes that its scenario changes every year, and indeed, the only things that don’t change are the gorily damaged bodies that his camera does not shy away from. After ISIS occupies his hometown, he and his family end up in the Sa’ad Camp for Internally Displaced Peoples, which would be hilarious if it weren’t heartbreaking — and given the vogue for single-word titles, even Sa’ad would have been a better movie title than Nowhere to Hide. An especially poignant scene has Nori touring his long-abandoned hospital, noting that the men with guns made a point of breaking the life-saving defibrillator, because they can do whatever they want and nothing matters. It’s all deeply, horribly sa’ad.

Nowhere to Hide
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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