Greetings from Aleppo

17 minutes

EXCLUSIVE

Sundays with Riki

19 minutes

Random events

31 minutes

Las del diente

5 minutes

The river

4 minutes

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Gunfire and dance parties – the contradictions of everyday life in Syria’s civil war

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

Website: Topic

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‘You wanna get rid of me?’ When the time comes to move mom into assisted living

During their weekly Sunday breakfast together, Ivy discovers that her octogenarian mother Riki is losing her memory. Soon after, Ivy decides that Riki would be better off moving out of the cozy Brooklyn apartment where she lives alone, and into an assisted living community in the Bronx, closer to Ivy’s own home. But, of course, when it comes to big family decisions, nothing is ever quite that easy. Ivy is making the request out of love, but Riki – resistant every step of the way – thinks her daughter is being controlling. When the time for a trial run at the community arrives, Ivy’s siblings start to question whether the move is premature, while Riki’s neighbours suggest that she’ll never be back. These delicate interpersonal dynamics are skilfully explored in this short documentary by New York-based filmmaker Brandon Barr. A tender and intimate portrait of ageing and the complexities of familial love, Sundays with Riki is likely to resonate with anyone who has helped to care for – or just cares about – an elderly relative.

Director: Brandon Barr

Producer: Max Mooney

Colorist: Anthony Riso

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A classic film finds order in randomness with the aid of some improbably elaborate sets

The Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) was formed in 1956 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the mission to create science-education materials for US high-school classrooms. In this PSSC film from 1961, the physics professors J N Patterson Hume and Donald Ivey of the University of Toronto deploy their expertise – as well as some seriously elaborate sets – to demonstrate how, with enough data, highly predictable patterns can emerge from unpredictable events. This version of Random Events has been visually and aurally enhanced by the Aeon Video team. For more elaborate educational wizardry from the PSSC, watch Frames of Reference.

Director: John Friedman

Visual restoration: Tamur Qutab

Audio restoration: Adam D’Arpino

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A magical mystery trip through the complex connections in women’s bodies

‘Girls are weird. Babies are weird. Bodies are extra weird,’ says the Spanish animator Ana Pérez López. In Las del Diente, she uses excerpts from candid conversations with three women as a canvas for a refreshingly honest and unapologetic meditation on modern womanhood. The anecdotes are enriched with hallucinatory animated sequences and percussive interludes, transforming their conversations about social pressure and biological anomalies into a surreal celebration of being female, in all its multitudes – from having your body treated like a business to contending with deeply conflicted feelings about having children.

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‘Where is it that we are?’ A poet conjures a journey along the waters of the afterlife

The short film The River evocatively adapts the US spoken-word poet Anis Mojgani’s performance of ‘To Where the Trees Grow Tall’ from his book In the Pockets of Small Gods (2018). Mojgani invokes a surreal scene of confusion, mystery and casual conversations between newly deceased strangers in a piece that envisions its listeners in their coffins, ‘clanging down the river, with all the other coffins in the water of the next world’. The US filmmaker Kristian Melom pairs this performance with split-screen images of the poet navigating a cityscape and a journey down a serenely flowing river. Through Mojgani’s words and Melom’s images, death – like life – is rendered as at once mundane and deeply enigmatic.

Director: Kristian Melom

Producer: AIR Serenbe

Executive Producer: J Brandon Hinman

Aeon for Friends

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Gunfire and dance parties – the contradictions of everyday life in Syria’s civil war

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

Website: Topic

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