In February 2002, about a year before the U.S. invasion, Iraqi filmmaker Abbas Fahdel traveled home from France to capture everyday life as his country prepared for war. He spent time with family and friends, including his 12-year-old nephew, Haider, as they went about their daily lives, which had come to include planning for shortages of food, water and power. No strangers to war, the Iraqis thought they understood what was coming, and could even manage to be grimly humorous about what they felt would likely be a major and lengthy inconvenience. And then, the war began.
When Fahdel resumed filming in 2003, two weeks after the invasion, daily activities had come to a near standstill, the city was overrun with foreign soldiers, and many areas of Baghdad had been closed off to ordinary citizens.