Raindance Review: Our River…Our Sky

Thanks to the reign of Saddam Hussein and two Gulf Wars, people in the West are much more familiar with Iraq than most of the Middle East. While the end of war might have signalled a new era for Iraq, that didn’t mean peace. Indeed, even while the coalition still occupied the country, violence and death were commonplace. In Baghdad, while life began to get back to normal, nothing was the same again. Our River…Our Sky tells the story of ordinary Iraqis trying to just get by.  

In the last week of 2006, the residents of Baghdad try and carry on with their lives and look to the future. While the occupying forces are there to keep the peace, sectarian violence is on the rise and there are curfews at night.  The residents are trying to move on but the spectre of death is never too far away. One single mother (Darina Al Joundi), a novelist who has stopped writing stories, is desperate to leave.

Using an ensemble cast to tell a number of stories of everyday life, Our River…Our Sky is an impressive and humane drama. Maysoon Pachachi’s debut feature is warm-hearted and moving. Gunfire and explosion permeate proceedings. A constant reminder of what lurks in the shadows. Of the precarious nature of life. It does, at times, feel a little like a soap opera, but Our River…Our Sky affords the viewer a glimpse of what it’s like to live in constant fear.

Our River…Our Sky screens at Raindance Film Festival.

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