ISIS took over our town. They beheaded our people, raped our women. After what they did, we had to protect our country
mosul_hero.jpg
 

Mosul


A searing account...a heart-pounding, intimate, you-are-there account of the siege....a contender for an Academy Award for best short documentary
— Globe and Mail

With astonishing cinematography by Olivier Sarbil, the story of the fight to re-take Mosul after more than two years of ISIS rule.

The people of Mosul endured the repressive rule of ISIS for more than two years.  This is the story of the men who fought back – and defeated the Islamic State in their heartland.

In October 2016, an elite team of Iraqi Special Forces was tasked with leading the fight to drive ISIS from the city. It was the beginning of a brutal battle of attrition that was to last almost nine months.

Filmed over the course of the whole campaign, MOSUL follows the experiences of four young soldiers: Anmar, a college graduate seeking revenge after his father was victim of a suicide attack; Hussein, a ruthless sniper and aspiring soccer player; Jamal, a loyal sergeant; and Amjad, a young recruit excited to be on the frontline. Full of hope and at the beginning of the campaign, the soldiers are forced to confront the reality of fighting an elusive and vicious enemy in a city full of trapped civilians. By the end of the campaign, more than half of Anmar’s team have been killed or injured.

The film captures the impact of what a US general has called the toughest urban combat since the Second World War: daily fire-fights, suicide attacks and ambushes. Sarbil captures intimate moments of unbearable grief as friends are lost, but the soldiers are forced to keep fighting; moments when the men must choose between saving their comrades’ lives or rescuing civilians. As the fighting reaches its peak, one of their fellow soldiers is killed by an ISIS booby-trap. The team struggles to come to terms with the loss, and forces an innocent civilian to step into no-man’s land to draw out ISIS sniper fire. Hussein the sniper grimly collects photographs of scores of ISIS fighters he has shot. Jamal wakes up sobbing in the middle of the night. Then, when Mosul is just weeks away from being liberated, tragedy strikes.

In July 2017, the Iraqi Army declared victory over ISIS in Mosul. But it had come at a cost. Much of the city was destroyed, hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced. And for the surviving soldiers, haunted by what they have seen and done, the war goes on. 

Mosul was an ISIS stronghold: the city from which its leader pronounced the establishment of the Islamic State, the city from which its commanders called for terrorist attacks on the United States, the city from which militants were sent to kill civilians in European cities. The war against ISIS is a war that affects us all – and MOSUL is an unprecedented and intimate portrait of the men fighting it. 

Directed by Olivier Sarbil

Co-directed and produced by James Jones

Produced by Dan Edge and Raney Aronson-Rath

Edited by Ella Newton

Music by Stew Jackson and Grant Marshall (Massive Attack)

PRODUCTION MANAGED BY PHILIPPA LACEY

MANAGING EDITOR: ANDREW METZ

 


Frontline_Logo_black_rgb.png

A FRONTLINE PBS PRODUCTION IN ASSOCIATION WITH MONGOOSE PICTURES AND CHANNEL 4

WITH THANKS TO C4 NEWS, WHO ORIGINALLY COMMISSIONED OLIVIER IN OCTOBER 2016

Theatrical premier Los Angeles 25 August 2017

BROADCAST ON FRONTLINE PBS OCTOBER 2017  

BROADCAST ON Channel4 UK NOVEMBER 2017