An extraordinarily intimate portrait of Iraqis living under U.S. occupation.
Working alone in Iraq over eight months, director/cinematographer Laura Poitras creates an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Iraqis living under U.S. occupation. Her principal focus is Dr. Riyadh, an Iraqi medical doctor, father of six and Sunni political candidate. An outspoken critic of the occupation, he is equally passionate about the need to establish democracy in Iraq, arguing that Sunni participation in the January 2005 elections is essential. Yet all around him, Dr. Riyadh sees only chaos, as his waiting room fills each day with patients suffering the physical and mental effects of ever-increasing violence. Dramatically interwoven into the personal journey of Dr. Riyadh is the landscape of the US military occupation, with Australian private security contractors, American journalists and the UN officials who orchestrate the elections. Unfolding like a narrative drama, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY follows the agonizing predicament and gradual descent of one man caught in the tragic contradictions of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its project to spread democracy in the Middle East.
Laura Poitras is a filmmaker, journalist, and artist. CITIZENFOUR, the third installment of her post-9/11 Trilogy, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, along with awards from the British Film Academy, Independent Spirit Awards, Director’s Guild of America, German Filmpreis, Cinema Eye Honors, and others. Part one of the trilogy, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, was nominated for an Academy Award. Part two, THE OATH, focused on Guantanamo and the war on terror, and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In 2006, the U.S. government placed her on a secret watchlist and, through 2012, she was detained and interrogated at the U.S. border each time she traveled internationally. In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. government to obtain her FBI and other government files. Over 1,000 pages have been released. She has received many honors for her work, including a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award. She has attended the Sundance Institute Documentary Labs as both a Fellow and Creative Advisor. She is on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Along with AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook, she is co-creator of Field of Vision.