Directed by Hiner Saleem
French, Kurdish and Arabic with subtitles in English
Iraqi Kurdistan/France, 2005, 96 minutes
“Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Saleem's powerful film, shot on location in Iraqi Kurdistan, is a poignant account of the Kurdish people's struggle for liberation and equality.”
–Ali Jaafar, BFI 50th London Film Festival guide, 2005
Kilometre Zero is a tragi-comic story of ethnic conflict between Kurds and Iraqis in the context of the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. The central story of the film is set at a time when Kurds were conscripted to serve in the Iraqi army, where they were brutally abused, as a despised minority in Saddam Hussein's military. Kilometre Zero pairs a Kurdish soldier, under orders to return the body of a dead soldier to his family, with an Iraqi taxi driver who will drive him to the dead soldier's home. Scenes between the men, in the close quarters of their truck, are interwoven with scenes of often comic incompetence of Iraqi soldiers and officers.
About the Director
Hiner Saleem was born in Acna, Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1954. He fled to Italy by way of Syria in 1971, to escape the oppression of Saddam Hussein, and has lived in Paris for the past ten years. He is a fervent advocate for the rights of the Kurdish people, and regards April 9, 2003 - the day of the fall of Saddam Hussein - as the most beautiful day of his life. Saleem was honored as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the government of France in 2005. His films include Beyond Our Dreams (2000), and Vodka Lemon (2003), for which he won the Contro Corrente Grand Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. His Long Live the Bride…and the Liberation of Kurdistan (1997) won the prize for best script at the Angers Film Festival. Kilometre Zero (2005) was selected for competition at the Festival Cannes 2005.
For educational resources regarding Kilometre Zero please click here.