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Originally published Friday, September 29, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

One Iraqi family, one day at a time

In 90 captivating minutes, Laura Poitras' extraordinary documentary "My Country, My Country" gives you a greater understanding...

In 90 captivating minutes, Laura Poitras' extraordinary documentary "My Country, My Country" gives you a greater understanding of the situation in Iraq than you'd get from 100 hours of Fox News or CNN. Serving as her own editor and cinematographer, Poitras has created an intimate portrait of a nation clearly at odds with American occupation.

But Poitras is no left-leaning Bush-basher; our military presence may be paving a road to hell with good intentions, but Poitras is more concerned with the spiritual confusion that arises from democracy at gunpoint, where even the best intentions can yield unintentionally tragic results.

Movie review 3.5 stars

Showtimes and trailer

"My Country, My Country," a documentary directed by Laura Poitras. 90 minutes. Not rated; contains some disturbing documentary images. In Arabic, English and Kurdish with English subtitles. Varsity.

Over six months leading up to the Iraqi elections of January 2005, Poitras follows Dr. Riyadh, a Sunni political candidate and father of six who runs a free clinic in Baghdad. We can rejoice at the beaming faces of those who safely cast their votes, but we can also cringe at prisoners held without trial at Abu Ghraib, fear for Riyadh's family amidst the constant threat of anti-election violence, or question the election as a "show" staged to validate Bush's foreign policy.

Regardless of your politics, Poitras' film is a revelatory cure for the spin of domestic news. Imagine what it's like to feel the concussion of nearby bombing as you're cooking breakfast, and you'll understand the sheer absurdity of the phrase "mission accomplished."

— Jeff Shannon, Special to The Seattle Times

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