SXSW Film Review: On Her Shoulders

Nuanced doc about a survivor's stand against ISIS

Since ISIS took control of her village, murdered 18 of her family members, and turned her into a sex slave, 23-year-old Nadia Murad’s life has been spent telling this story of persecution over and over again.

However, what could have easily been a simple, cinematic translation of the oppression of the Yazidi people is transformed into something much more nuanced through director Alexandria Bombach (Frame by Frame).

Bombach’s ability to thoughtfully examine trauma and its narrative in the media and politics creates a new avenue for Nadia’s justice outside of the courtroom or parliament. The film, which picked up the SXSW LUNA® Chicken & Egg Award – Documentary at Tuesday night’s SXSW Film Festival Jury and Special Awards ceremony, traces Nadia’s journey traveling from country to country, pleading for acknowledgement of her people and what they’ve endured. Repeatedly she is asked to recount brutal details about her rape, her escape, and her ability to persevere as her community is slaughtered and abused elsewhere.

By traveling with Nadia on each of these trips – each more laden with hope and defeat than the last – Bombach is able to avoid asking the same questions and instead show the toll that it takes on a young woman to be responsible for the future of a million displaced people.


On Her Shoulders

Festival Favorites
Saturday, March 17, 2pm, Zach Theatre

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film 2018, On Her Shoulders, Nadia Murad, Alexandria Bombach, Frame by Frame

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