Ali and His Miracle Sheep

Nominated for

Best Short Documentary

Directed by

Maythem Ridha

25' • Iraq • 2021

Arabic

Guided by his grandmother’s haunting Sumerian lament, 9-year-old mute Ali takes his sheep, Kirmeta, for sacrifice on a strenuous 400km journey across Iraq’s landscape, destroyed by years of war, to the shrine of an ancient saint. Along the journey Kirmeta becomes increasingly resistant and runs away to escape his bloody fate. Ali eventually finds Kirmeta amongst carcasses of cars leftover from decades of violence and false promises of freedom. When Kirmeta collapses from exhaustion the pilgrims think he’s dead. But with the continuous prayers of grandmother back in the village, Kirmeta mysteriously recovers. Witnessing this the pilgrims declare him a MIRACLE SHEEP, a reputation that accompanies them on the rest of their journey. Can both boy and sheep survive the hardship and accept their fate? A lyrical hybrid film whose symbolism exposes the suffering of a nation whose only hope left is a mute child and his “miraculous” sheep.