About the Film
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Syria to Europe since 2015. They live among us, and yet they are “not really here”. Every minute their mobile phones may be transmitting messages and videos from Syria; the war is always present on their phones and they can’t do anything about it.
The film portrays four people in Europe torn between these two realities and gives an intimate insight into daily life in Syria through private messages and videos from people inside the war zone:
From D.who is managing a women’s center in Idlib, a heavily bombed rebel area, and trying to get on with her everyday life. From Shahinaz’s mother and sister, trying to escape to Europe. From Omar’s friends inside an area controlled by ISIS and from J. incarcerated in a Syrian prison for more than five years without trial.
About the concept
Private photos, videos and messages have a strong emotional force; these are not the anonymous pictures we see on news broadcasts, but rather messages from the friends and relatives of our protagonists. They arrive every few weeks, or daily – videos of bombardments that pop up on the screen during a walk in a park or a shopping trio; in a café, the latest ISIS propaganda appears with a list of those recently executed, some of whom may be friends.
The images are full of contrasts: shopping streets and streets bombed beyond recognition, children playing and the injured being recovered from rubble, giggling girls in front of a school and fully veiled women in ISIS-controlled areas.
The pictures allow us to come close. We are there as relatives try to escape, as friends get bombed or risk their lives to send messages from ISIS territory.
We are also there when there are suddenly no more messages. And we can feel the helplessness of those who escaped to safe places in Europe but who can’t enjoy their freedom because the war is still going on.
How the film is made
The film was realized through an Open Call on our website and research by our team. We invited people who had fled to Europe from Syria to be part of the film. People who constantly receive news from their home country, from their family or friends who text, call, skype or send videos showing what it means to live in Aleppo or Damascus, or under ISIS. We accompanied some of them for almost a year. We wanted to show their situation and give the war a face.