A family with four young children lives in Aleppo, Syria, a city largely destroyed by civil war. The father risks his life every day as he seeks to topple Assad’s regime as a commander in the Free Syrian Army. Between the rubble of the largely abandoned neighborhood, and under the constant threat of bombings and sharpshooters, the family tries to get by.
One day, the father is turned over to the IS by his own comrades and the mother decides to flee. Together with her children, she travels by way of Istanbul to Germany, where she is warmly welcomed in the beautiful old town of Goslar. Despite their traumatic experiences, the children seem to adapt quickly, but their mother has a hard time in a foreign culture without her husband.
In Watani My Homeland, the extended version of Marcel Mettelsiefen’s 2016 short documentary, the director closely follows the daily life of the family for three years, emphasizing the perspectives of the children. In the process, the film offers a gripping view on what war can do to people’s lives.