EW Staff
October 17, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

An elderly Kurdish musician persuades his two middle-aged sons to help him search for his ex-wife, endangered in wartorn Iraqi Kurdistan. Punctuations of lively music and unexpected humor elevate the journey, which is otherwise fraught with devastation — thievery, poverty, bombing, and death. Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi brings the hopelessness of Saddam’s Iraq to life with authenticity and wit. EXTRAS Just one: In an extended interview, Ghobadi reveals that he lived with the three actors — real-life musicians who played at his sister’s wedding — for three months, and based much of the script on their personal stories. In doing so, he has created a fictional documentary of sorts, in which, he explains, ”the actors don’t act anymore. They just relive their lives in front of my camera.”

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