Iraq is not one of the worlds most popular vacation spots, thats for sure. It has few 5 star resorts, actually I think it has exactly zero five star anythings. But what about the kids that live in Iraq, education is such an important part of life.

We hear much about the Sunni, Shia, Kurd factions, but there are many others, there is a significant Christian population for example.

Baghdad High features four young people, from different backgrounds, and different cultures, but they share one common love, movie making. Four teenagers from very different backgrounds, four young people that can tell the same story through four different eyes.

Maybe the most disturbing part of this documentary is not what is inside it, but what is outside. I received an email a couple of days ago…

I just wanted to give you a bit of info on Baghdad High. We are not permitted to air any clips from the film as the boys who are the focus are trying to flee the country and if they are found out it could be serious trouble for them. So just wanted to make sure you didn’t rip any scenes from the film to go along with your review.

Now, I can honestly say that I don’t rip anything, other my socks! But it really does put this subject into focus.

Iraq is fractured, the people trying to live there are at the very best walking on egg shells. These four young people have a great future in front of them, they have talent, if only they can live long enough to see it realized. They deal with ancient Arabic text, power outages, and the regular teen angst, but somehow they break through the barriers, and ‘do ,what they feel they must do’.

I have to admit that maybe this is a documentary that should have been kept ‘under wraps’ till the four boys escaped. Their lives are clearly endangered now. It is not that any of them are adversarial, but they all buck the accepted system, and that is a death sentence.

You can catch Baghdad High on HBO at 9pm Monday August/4.

Simon Barrett


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