Zagros Manuchar (b. 1990, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq) is a Finnish filmmaker and artist who holds a master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki. His works have been shown at international film festivals, exhibitions and cultural institutes. His works have dealt with childhood, loneliness, violence and the need to be seen and loved. He has also taught arts to children and young people. Manuchar works with film, photography and text, immersing himself in a single topic for a long while and delving into the background work. He has recently worked on issues of war and human rights for children. His work Omenan tuoksu (‘The scent of an apple’) draws on his experiences as a Kurd and a child refugee.  

The author thanks the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, AVEK, and Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation, as well as Kristiina Koivunen and Marja Baumgartner who had time for profound discussions while doing the background work. The books of both have also been an important source of inspiration.

Exhibited at Taidehalli’s Video Screenings 13.5. at 5 pm & 17.5. at 6 pm


Omenan tuoksu
film 00:20:00

Omenan tuoksu is based on the 1988 Halabja massacre, the largest chemical weapons attack on civilians in history. The attack killed many women and children and left an indelible mark on the Kurdish population. The gas is said to have smelled like apples, which is why nobody suspected anything.  

The film’s protagonist, 17-year-old Amira, suffers from severe pain and respiratory symptoms. The film draws a picture of a young woman struggling with her health and the long-term consequences of war and violence. Manuchar combines documentary features with fiction and uses elements such as poems and diary entries written by a former war refugee. Because of his background, Manuchar has a very personal take on Halabja. He is particularly interested in stories of women and children, which rarely feature in depictions of war experiences. One of his themes is trauma, which, according to Holocaust researchers, is passed on to the third generation.

Image Credits: 
Artist’s portrait - Patrik Rastenberger
Artwork images - Omenan tuoksu, 2023, film, Zagros Manuchar