Watch Ann Shin’s Oscar-shortlisted Doc ‘My Enemy, My Brother’


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced the shortlist of ten films vying for the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar, and two Canadian films are on the list. The shortlisted Canadian docs are Ann Shin’s My Enemy, My Brother and Adam Benzine’s Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. Shin previously directed the feature film The Defector: Escape from North Korea and chronicled her powerful experience in a compelling feature article for POV in 2013. The article was selected for the anthology The Best Canadian Essays. (Read Ann Shin’s article on The Defector here.)

It’s often hard to catch the short films before the Academy Awards, will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, but fortunately for doc fans, My Enemy, My Brother is freely available online via the New York Times and is embedded below for your viewing pleasure. This powerful film tells of two war enemies who meet by chance in Vancouver twenty years after the Iran-Iraq War. The Oscar boost for My Enemy, My Brother comes in the midst of a successful festival run that includes screenings at Hot Docs, VIFF, the One World Film Festival, the Ottawa International Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Traverse City Film Festival where it won Best Documentary Short Film.

Synopsis: My Enemy, My Brother is the real life story about two former enemies who become blood brothers for life: Zahed Haftlang was an Iranian boy who ran away from home to join the army. Najah Aboud was a 19-year old Iraqi who had been conscripted to fight in the war, leaving behind his wife and son. Both men fought in the Iran-Iraq war where Zahed finds Najah injured in a bunker and decides to risk his own life to save him. Zahed kept Najah alive for days, after which Najah was finally taken as a prisoner of war. Their lives diverge and they don’t see nor hear of one another for 20 years until one day they meet by sheer coincidence in Vancouver.

What do you think, POV readers? Does this Canadian doc have the goods for Oscar gold?