Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: On Her Shoulders

The media are fickle creatures. When a story or an issue is hot, they’re falling over themselves to cover every aspect and angle. When interest wanes, it almost feels like it never happened. The same can be said for most politicians. Quick to back a cause if it makes them look good but often not prepared to do anything practical to help if there’s a cost or commitment attached. In 2014, when daesh declared their intent to eradicate the Yezidi people in northern Iraq., there was international condemnation. However, their plight was soon ignored and forgotten.

In August 2014, daesh entered a village in Sinjar, murdered 600 men and kidnapped all the young women and children. Nadia Murad was one of the Yezidi women taken. She was beaten, abused and raped by her captors. When a guard left a door unlocked she managed to escape and make her way to a refugee camp. Since then, she’s dedicated her life to highlighting the plight of the Yezidis to the world. On Her Shoulders offers a unique insight into her life.

Instead of making a standard biographical or political documentary, director Alexandria Bombach chooses to focus on Nadia’s daily struggle. Nadia believes she has no choice but to be the spokesperson for an entire community. It’s not what she wants to do in life but feels she has a responsibility to do so. Travelling around the world, she raises awareness through the media, the UN and with politicians. This all takes an incredible toll. On Her Shoulders is a cleverly made portrait of a person desperate to move on with her life but fated to keep re-living her past horrors.

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