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Last Men In Aleppo preview: Stunning film that delves into lives of those fighting for humanity

The film captures the response of ordinary citizens who choose not to be armed men in the conflict, but chose not to leave their country and stay back to help.

Photo: Open Frame Film Festival

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Feras Fayyad’s hard-hitting film captures a group of civilians who risk their lives in order to save others in Syria that is torn apart by military strikes and attacks. Shot during the 2015-2016 siege of Aleppo, the film follows a small group of people who are a part of the volunteer organization, White Helmets, that fucntions in the rebel-controlled part of Syria. The volunteers put everything at stake to evacuate civilians from dangerous areas and perform rescue operations. 

The film captures the response of ordinary citizens who choose not to be armed men in the conflict, but chose not to leave their country and stay back to help. Thus, in the process, posing a different type of resistance. The volunteers go about their work, constantly negotiating the heart-breaking choice of their duty towards their loved ones and that towards their country and humanity at large. The volunteers enter shaky buildings that are on the verge of collapsing, pulling out people buried under debris, all the while putting themselves in mortal danger. 

Speaking about his intention behind making this film, Fayyad said in an interview with Indiewire.com, that in capturing their extraordinary choice, he wanted to “witness what they witness, the challenges that they face, and show each of them as a human being, as a normal human being, not Superman, and also not the victims.” 

The idea of changing society through non-violent means is a powerful one that has seen different iterations across the world. Last Men In Aleppo makes one think about the responsibility of ordinary citizens when faced with strife and utter chaos. In a piece that he wrote for The Guardian, a daily, earlier this year, Fayyad wrote, “My colleagues and I made Last Men In Aleppo because we believe in the power of film and the arts to bring attention to injustice”.

As of April 2018, the organization that was founded in 2013, claims to have saved over 1,14,000 lives, with 204 White Helmet volunteers losing their lives in the process. The visually stunning film won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards.

Last Men In Aleppo will be screened as part of PSBT's Open Frame Film Festival 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi on 14 September at 7.15pm.

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Open Frame Film Festival

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