MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER
Directed by Ann Shin
Official Selection, 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Najah Aboud was only 19 years old when he was forced to leave behind his wife and infant son to fight in the Iraqi military. Zahed Haftlang was still a boy when he ran away from home to join the Iranian army. Twenty years later, these two men who fought on opposite sides of the Iran-Iraq War end up inextricably bound together by their promise to help each other heal and find personal peace. The deep respect and understanding that Najah and Zahed, now living in Vancouver, have for one another reinforce an otherwise unfathomable hope that there is a road on which to move forward and settle unresolved pasts upended by war. Their journey toward redemption brings them back to the Middle East, where Najah searches for the wife and son that he has not seen in decades, and Zahed seeks to return to the home that he left as a child.
MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER, Ann Shin’s powerful follow-up to her 2015 award-winning short film of the same name, reveals the solace that friendship and compassion can provide in the aftermath of violence. The incredible relationship and solidarity that developed between two men who were fated to resent one another as enemies compels us to recognize our shared humanity beyond politicized notions of war and peace. –Malou Amparo Robas