Hot Docs review: On Her Shoulders

Alexandria Bombach has created an empathetic, uncomfortable study of a woman pushing herself through her worst memories


ON HER SHOULDERS (Alexandria Bombach, U.S.). 94 minutes. Rating: NNNN


This harrowing documentary profiles Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a Yazidi woman from northern Iraq who witnessed the murder of her family members by ISIS and endured months of brutal captivity before escaping. Now an activist and a United Nations goodwill ambassador, she tours the world telling her story – which inevitably forces to relive the darkest time of her life, over and over again.

On Her Shoulders is painfully aware of the toll Murad’s work takes upon her, and director Bombach makes sure we are, too. Without ever exploiting her subject’s past or pain, she’s made an empathetic, uncomfortable study of a woman pushing herself through her worst memories in order to make sure no one else ever has a similar experience.

May 1, 6:15 pm, Isabel Bader May 2, 10 am, TIFF 3 May 5, 4 pm, TIFF 2

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