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San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6:30 p.m. Return to Homs
Talal Derki (Syria/Germany, 2013)

Filmed between 2011 and 2013, this urgent dispatch from the besieged Syrian city of Homs—“capital of the revolution” against the Assad regime—transmits a visceral eyewitness account of a peaceful uprising descending into civil war. Director Talal Derki focuses on two youths coming of age as revolutionaries: Basset, a teen soccer star turned charismatic singer and rebel fighter, and Ossama, a media activist. Their ideals quickly come up against the reality that neither Ossama’s cameras nor Basset’s guns are adequate weapons against Assad’s army. As the siege tightens, the film stays within the narrowing horizons of the rebels, who talk more fervently of martyrdom the more they perceive that the world has forsaken them. Derki refuses the pretense of journalistic objectivity, sharing in his subjects’ grief and outrage and taking grave risks to document their struggle. He said in an interview: “I felt death could be close, but I had a feeling that my moment is not here yet, so I followed my camera to tell the story of the people of Homs, how they dream and despair, and how they are bidding farewell to each other.” Part elegy, part call to action, the film won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance.

—Juliet Clark

• Photographed by Kahtan Hassoun, Ossama al Homsi, Derki, Orwa Nyrabia. (87 mins)

Tickets on sale April 4. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-5186.

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