Return To Homs - Documentary of the Week
Director: Talal Derki
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Syria, Germany 2013 87 mins.
Winner of World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, 2014 Sundance International Film Festival
Released by JOURNEYMAN PICTURES
'Brave, brutal and very relevant. A remarkable face-to-face film of the reality of the Syrian resistance. A camera's inside eye of the horror and despair that is Homs. Extraordinary'
From 2011 to 2013, filmmaker Talal Derki followed the journey of two close friends whose lives had been upended by the battle raging in Syria. Charismatic nineteen-year-old Basset, a local soccer star, goalkeeper for the Syrian national team and iconic singer whose songs reflect his dreams of a peaceful liberation from Assad’s brutal regime. Ossama is a 24-year-old media activist and pacifist who wields his camera to capture the revolution. With their beloved city of Homs a bombed-out ghost town, these two peaceful protesters finally take up arms and become rebel insurgents.
'This is Homs, but I don't know where I am,' Basset says with characteristic joviality as he wanders through the destroyed buildings and rubble-filled streets of the city. They are the streets Basset and Osama grew up in, now a barren battlefield. Osama is disorientated by the new reality - 'like an immigrant discovering a new city'.
As the siege takes hold Basset and Ossama gather a group of amateur fighters to take on the snipers, tanks and mortars of the Syrian Army determined to protect the trapped civilians and help to get them out of the city. With limited rations and ammunition they survive by single-minded determination.
Bravado and battle weariness gives way to despair and the normally optimistic Basset seems broken - 'I no longer have it in me to do this. All my close friends are gone.'
Yet out of despair a bitter determination emerges. Pushed out of Homs by Assad's forces, Basset prepares his men to re-enter the city.
Brave, brutal and very relevant, 'Return To Homs' is a remarkable face-to-face film of the reality of the Syrian resistance. A camera's eye view of the horror and despair that is Homs. Extraordinary.