The suburb where Yaser Kassab lives is anonymous and nondescript. Judging by the snow, the nearby woodland and the architecture, he must be somewhere in Scandinavia. But in his mind and heart, the Syrian filmmaker-in-exile is somewhere else: back in Aleppo with his family. He looks at photos of them on the broken screen of his phone. The phone connection is bad, but it’s clear enough to hear his father telling him that the authorities have demanded his younger brother’s grave be moved.
The contrast is stark between the subdued atmosphere of Kassab’s gray-lit adopted home and the jerky footage of a city destroyed by bombs and bullets, made by his family as they drive to the cemetery. The physical distance and emotional separation only intensify each other. Beneath the surface of the conversation, there is rage and desperation about a war so total that even the dead cannot rest.