by Hiner Saleem
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In February of 1988, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war, somewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan. Thirty-something Ako lives in a secluded mountain village with his wife Salma, their blind child and his father-in-law who approaches life’s end. Ako dreams of a better existence elsewhere, but his wife does not want to abandon her father; they will only be able to leave after his death. Stopped for an identity check, Ako is forced to fight at the front. There he will discover war and fear physical torture. While the bombs rain down on the trenches, Akos and his two Kurdish friends Adnan and Sami dream of peace and Europe. The three men try to desert but are rapidly catched. Ako then is entrusted with a special mission by an army officer; he will have to escort the corpse of a war martyr to the man’s family home. He is accompanied by a taxi-driver with loutish manners and an exacerbating Iraqi nationalism. They cross Iraq from checkpoint to check point until they arrive in Mosul. The occasion arises for Ako to revisit his country and the Kurdish mountains.