Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Talal Derki's Return to Homs (2013) is a harrowing descent into the violence of the military siege of Homs during the Syrian civil war. In the documentary, young men led by Abdul Basset Saroot (above) fight against Bashar al-Assad's army. Basset's men live in a ghostly interconnected labyrinth made up of partially-shelled apartment houses. Basset is shown to be an inspirational leader: a soccer playing, poetry-reciting activist who puts his life on the line against a dictatorial regime. As the film goes on, we can see Basset's increasing fatigue and frustration. Indeed, the rebels seem to be picked off, one by one, by army snipers, tanks, and bombs. The film's relentless focus on one small group in one city sheds light on the overall Syrian conflict.