Baghdad Twist opens with a scene from a wedding reception: well-dressed couples twirl in pairs around a dance floor. One pair looks directly into the camera and smiles. Eerie, electronic music hums as the dance scene cuts to images of the streets of Baghdad blanketed with the snow of a once-in-a-lifetime storm. The 33-minute film is narrated by the disembodied voices of Valentine Balass, the mother of Iraqi Canadian filmmaker Joe Balass, and Joe himself, as he asks her to recount her life story leading up to their departure from Iraq in a blend of English and Judeo-Arabic. Baghdad Twist, Balass’ fourth film, contributes to the growing body of work that tells stories of the modern Jewish experience through the lens of family history. Baghdad Twist joins documentaries like Next Year in Argentina (2005) and Where the Heart Is (2012), which explore the lives and afterlives of Jewish diaspora...

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