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DDocumentary Competition

Return to Homs

Return to Homs

Original Title: Al Awda ila Homs
Director: Talal Derki
Syria, Germany | Arabic
2014 | 90min.
Subtitles: English
Format: DCP
Theme: V
12+
Syria is the land of assassinated filmmakers, since anyone holding up a mobile phone to record skirmishes becomes an instant sniper target. Having this in mind makes Talal Derki’s pungent documentary Return to Homs even more powerful, but you don’t need such information to understand Derki’s achievement. What makes Return to Homs so extraordinary is the way it captures in unplanned fashion the civil war’s trajectory, from optimistic uprising to internecine chaos, via a few fighters struggling to maintain energy while mass destruction threatens to weaken their focus. Abdul Baset Al-Sarout is the most memorable figure in the documentary, a champion goalkeeper whose idealism convinces peers and viewers alike that the fight against Bashar Al Assad can be won with determination. Yet as the film unfolds, the troupe of resolute young men becomes worn down by the ever-increasing devastation. Return to Homs isn’t a film for the faint of heart: The camera doesn’t swerve from showing horrific violence. Its understanding of place is reflected in visceral terms, not only the fighters’ feeling of belonging to a city and a country but the sheer physicality of Homs, where ruined buildings are the norm and bombed holes in walls are used in the matter-of-fact way most people use doors. Derki’s unflinching approach makes this painful record a necessary viewing experience.

Director,  Talal Derki

Director,  Talal Derki

Talal Derki was born in Damascus in 1977. He studied filmmaking in Athens before returning to his home country, where he directed short fiction films and documentaries and worked as a video reporter for major news outlets including Reuters, Al Arabiya, France 24 and CNN. His award-winning nonfiction shorts Lajat and Azadi were made under a pseudonym before he and his family left Syria. Return to Homs received the Grand Jury prize at Sundance this year.

Cast and Crew

Director
Talal Derki
Production Company
Proaction Film, Ventana Film
Sales Contact
Journeyman Pictures
Music
Katarina Holmberg
Producer
Orwa Nyrabia, Hans Robert Eisenhauer
Screenwriter
Talal Derki
Editor
Ann Fabini
Cinematographer
Kahtan Hassoun, Ossama Al Homsi, Talal Derki, Orwa Nyrabia
Sound
Sebastien Tesch, Ansgar Frerich
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