Return to Homs

  • Talal Derki
  • Syria, Germany
  • 2013
  • 87 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
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Filmed between August 2011 and August 2013, this is a remarkably intimate portrait of a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs in western Syria. They dream of their country being free from President Bashar al-Assad and fight for justice through peaceful demonstrations. As the army acts ever more brutally and their city is transformed into a ghost town, the young men become armed insurgents. The protagonists are two friends: Basset, the charismatic 19-year-old goalkeeper of the national soccer team whose revolutionary songs make him the voice of the protest movement, and the 24-year-old media activist and cameraman Ossama. The close-up camerawork takes the viewer right into the group. Scenes of lively protest parties make way for panicking civilians on the run, followed by grim battles in a deserted city, and rising numbers of fallen loved ones. Basset's a cappella protest songs are the only soundtrack, apart from the "silence, interrupted only by birds and bullets." From time to time, the director makes a comment in voice-over: “The world is watching how we are getting killed one by one, while it remains silent as the grave.”

Credits

  • 87 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Talal Derki
Production
Orwa Nyrabia for Proaction Film, Hans Robert Eisenhauer for Ventana Film
Cinematography
Kahtan Hassoun, Ossama al Homsi, Talal Derki, Orwa Nyrabia
Editing
Anna Fabini
Involved TV Channel
SWR/ARTE, NHK, SVT, TSR
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IDFA history

2013
World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
2012
Supported with €16000 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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IDFA history