A Stranger Came to Town

  • Thomas Vroege
  • Netherlands
  • 2017
  • 71 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
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Complex realities can never be reduced to a simple conflict between good and evil—and certainly not in the case of the war in Syria. Interviews with four inhabitants of Aleppo form the backbone of this cinematic essay about the chaos in the country. The images of a city in ruins—a gray haze filtering them like dust from the bombed-out buildings on the lens—are accompanied by the lamentations of mourning female voices. The interviewees discuss the first mass demonstration in 2012, the formation of the rebel army and the torture it suffered at the hands of the regime. They go on to talk about fleeing to the West, while we see discomforting infrared shots of masses of people on the move. The only one of them who stayed behind in Aleppo saw the conflict develop from his very own apartment. Confronted with the militias fighting in his street, he has a critical view of the rebels—initially a cause célèbre in Western media.


  • 71 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Arabic, English
  • Subtitles in: English
Thomas Vroege
Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen for HALAL Docs, Roel Oude Nijhuis for HALAL Docs, Gijs Determijer for HALAL Docs, Gijs Kerbosch for HALAL Docs
Executive producer
Estelle Bovelander for HALAL Docs
Christian Paulussen
Daan Wijdeveld
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IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary

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IDFA history