Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
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
How the Hindu myth of Annapurna, goddess of food, connects sustenance with spirituality
Computing and artificial intelligence
Who, exactly, authored this AI-generated spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo?
Gender and identity
LGBTQ+ retirees celebrate their hard-earned self-acceptance at a belated prom night
Peering into the eerie world of plankton reveals a variety of vital creatures
Biography and memoir
Meet the Liverbirds! The bittersweet tale of Liverpool’s all-female answer to the Beatles
When crushes become crushing – how to know if you’re in a ‘limerent episode’
Take in the sounds of silence via this unique performance of John Cage’s infamous piece
‘My people!’ A Trinidadian’s love letter to his island, just before its 1962 independence
A unique theatre performance explores what touch means in an age of lockdown