Qarantina is about a ruthless hit man in Baghdad who lives in the same house as a dysfunctional family. Violence is everywhere beyond their windows, symbolized by the overhead sounds of wartime helicopters, but it's the household's personal demons that are especially troubling in Oday Rasheed's riveting new drama, which screens in San Francisco today (Tuesday, April 3), as part of the San Francisco Film Society's Artist in Residence Program. Rasheed appears on stage for an interview as well.
Qarantina is one of the first Iraqi feature films made on location in the country, which continues to struggle with the aftereffects of the U.S.-led war that killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and created a climate of sectarian distrust. Through Qarantina's characters — including the family's young daughter, Meriam (who is pregnant); her strong-willed step mom, Kerima; and Kerima's religious husband, Salih — Rasheed asks a question that he says is crucial for Iraqis to hear: What responsibility do they have for the breakdown of the country's social infrastructure? Qarantina screened once in Iraq and will screen around the country in the year ahead.