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Our Terrible Country

2014 DOK Leipzig, Doc International Programme, Film Prize "Leipziger Ring"
Syria | 2014 | 85 min. | Arabic | English, French subtitles | German Premiere
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Our Terrible Country | Baladna alraheeb

Act 1: Ziad Homsi, 24, photographer and freedom fighter, meets the intellectual and “doctor of the revolution”, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, in Ghouta, the first city liberated in the Syrian civil war. However far-fetched the idea might seem on the backdrop of ongoing fighting in the streets and the complete destruction of the city, Homsi begins to shoot a portrait of the famous dissident. At first insecure about how to deal with the other, an increasingly close relationship develops between the two.
Act 2: ar-Raqqa. Saleh’s hometown is conquered by ISIS terrorists, his brother arrested and detained. He has no choice – he must go back. Homsi accompanies him. After an exhausting 20-day journey through (still) liberated territory, they reach the town, only to hide from the ISIS fanatics there who hunt down everyone who’s intelligent, educated and an independent thinker. They don’t find the brother.
Act 3: forced exile. Saleh flees from the growing ISIS terror to Istanbul, where he also sees his young friend Homsi again – a meeting of two generations united by their revolution with all its hopes, disappointments and setbacks. The idea that was worth fighting and dying for is gone. What’s left is the hope of returning one day. To do what?
Matthias Heeder
Original Title: Baladna alraheeb
Country: Syria
Year: 2014
Language: Arabic
Subtitle: English, French
Runtime: 85 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Mohammad Ali Atassi, Ziad Homsi
Producer: Christin Luettich
Cinematographer: Ziad Homsi, Saeed Al-Batal
Editor: Marwan Ziadeh
Sound: Nadim Mishlawi
Script: Mohammad Ali Atassi
Christin Lüttich

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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.