The First Movie
A portrait of the Kurdish village of Goptapa, located in the remotest part of Iraq. Though the chaotic American war rages just offscreen, the horror of the anfadel--the chemical bombings by Saddam Hussein that slaughtered thousands of Kurds in the mid-80's--remains deeply seared in the village's consciousness. In order to understand the villagers' experience, the filmmaker gave the children in the community video cameras (which he calls "empathy machines"), and then integrated the children's compelling footage into his film. Through the childrens' footage, we begin to understand that the suffering in Goptapa co-habits with other things, such as wonder and imaginative development.