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From 2012 to 2016 Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, was one of the central battlegrounds of the country’s civil war. In December 2016, government forces defeated and subsequently expelled rebel groups from the city in what was considered a turning point in the conflict. This short documentary was shot by the Syrian artist Issa Touma while Aleppo was still besieged, and offers a jarring look at everyday life in a war zone. Through visits to family and fellow artists, Touma shows a city of surreal contradictions, where street cleaning carries on while gunshots ring out in the distance, and people marry, have babies and make art amid threats of death and destruction. Touma’s perspective is a powerful counterpoint to mainstream news coverage of the war, which is focused on winners, losers, body counts and abject suffering. Instead, he delivers a complex, dissonant portrait of humanity and perseverance fraught with confusion and tragedy.
Directors: Issa Touma, Floor van der Meulen, Thomas Vroege
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