A Mother’s Enduring Love

Lynne Rogers

Sari’s Mother

Directed by James Longley
The Cinema Guild, 2006

While James Longley was filming his longer, multiple award-winning “Iraq in Fragments,” he also shot the short documentary “Sari’s Mother.” This 14-minute film follows an Iraqi mother as she cares for her 10-year old son, who contracted AIDS from a hospital blood transfusion. This poignant film lets the images speak for themselves as Sari’s mother stoically navigates the government and medical bureaucracy for assistance.

In one quietly intense shot, Sari’s mother collects the baggie of medicine dropped

If these visuals are not enough, Longley’s heart felt commentary recounts the context of the film; in the brief additional clip, “Iraq Before the War,” Congressman Jim McDermott speaks out against the sanctions imposed in 2002, stressing the endless long-term effects of war, ranging from contaminated water to depleted uranium. In the unadorned “Sari’s Mother,” the insidious illnesses of the 21st century cruelly intrude on the primal bond between a mother and son.by helicopters and in the tranquility of their simple village home, she gives her son his painful injection with a maternal care that transcends tears. Later in the city, none of the authorities can help her: the appropriate hospital has been bombed and the tuberculosis doctor can only write her a token prescription. But the government bureaucrat needs the proper paperwork so he can create even more paperwork – he finally avoids responsibility by throwing his hands up in the air, telling her it’s an “international” disease.

This review appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 12, nos. 56/57 (2006)
Copyright (c) 2006 by Al Jadid

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