San Francisco International Film Festival to see the Syrian documentary Return to Homs. It was filmed in the sieged city of Homs over the period 2011 to 2013 & puts the viewer directly in the middle of the fighting, alongside a group of hardscrabble rebels. The footage is intense & unflinching. Homs looks like a city that's had an atomic bomb dropped on it. We're taken through bombed-out buildings & inside grizzly surgery rooms & allowed to witness battles & deaths in the streets. I felt the confusion & claustrophobia of being in a war zone.
The film sticks to reportage of the immediate plight of the rebel fighters. Focus eventually settles on a young man named Basset, first seen rousing mobs of men during exuberant street protests, then as the leader of armed rebels. He's handsome, athletic, impassioned & a show-off. His tenacity & increasing dedication to the war, even after he is repeatedly wounded, made me more & more fearful of him, & I took a long walk in the cold air after the movie was over.
§ Return to Homs
Director: Talal Derki
Syria, Germany, 2013, 87 mins.
§ The 57th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival
May 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Cinema
May 6, 2014, 6:30 p.m. BAM/PFA
May 7, 2014, 6:15 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Cinema