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On Her Shoulders

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This inspiring doc will stir your soul and have you up in arms in the cause of the dispossessed.

This documentary is about the awe-inspiring bravery of Nadia Murad, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iraqi woman kidnapped by Isis as a sex slave aged 21 in 2014 – she’s a member of the ancient Yazidi minority. Sold to Isis fighters, and repeatedly raped, Murad eventually escaped, arriving in Germany as a refugee with a group of female survivors. But she found it impossible to build a new life while Yazidi women and girls were still captive, so she went out and told her story.

American documentary-maker Alexandria Bombach initially picks up Murad’s story in 2016. She’s in the spotlight after giving a speech to the UN about her ordeal and flying around the world, saying yes to every media request and invitation to speak to politicians. We see her sitting down in front of microphone after microphone, drained, traumatised, but focused, holding it together, while yet another journalist asks her: ‘How many times were you raped?’, ‘How did you escape?’

With great sensitivity, Bombach refrains from quizzing Murad about what Isis did to her during the interviews. Why do we want to know the details? Instead, we hear Murad talk movingly about the parts of herself that have been robbed for ever. As a teenager she dreamt of opening a beauty salon or becoming a teacher. That’s all lost. ‘I never wanted people to know me as a victim of Isis terrorism.’ Her only hope now is if the world acts on the genocide of the Yazidi. What a powerful and important film. 

Written by
Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 25 January 2019
  • Duration:94 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Alexandria Bombach
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