February 8, 2018

Lest Men in Aleppo

NYU Washington, DC hosted a special screening of, "Last Men in Aleppo."

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards and winner of the Grand Jury documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking work — a searing example of boots-on-the-ground reportage — follows the efforts of the internationally recognized White Helmets, an organization consisting of ordinary citizens who are the first to rush towards military strikes and attacks in the hope of saving lives. Incorporating moments of both heart-pounding suspense and improbable beauty, the documentary draws us into the lives of three of its founders — Khaled, Subhi, and Mahmoud — as they grapple with the chaos around them and struggle with an ever-present dilemma: do they flee or stay and fight for their country?  

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Film Length: 90 min.

Premiere Date: July 10, 2017

Filmmaker: Feras Fayyad

Producer: Søren Steen Jespersen

Producer: Kareem Abeed 

Syrian Cultural House

The year is 2015. Syria's brutal civil war has been ravaging the country since the government responded with force to civil protests during the Arab Spring in 2011. Regime, Kurdish, ISIS and rebel forces all occupy various parts of the city of Aleppo in northwestern Syria. A volunteer group called the White Helmets provides emergency services to traumatized residents in the rebel-occupied areas of the city. A crucial part of their efforts is rescuing survivors: After air attacks reduce buildings to rubble, the men of the White Helmets dig through the debris and pull survivors to safety. They are nothing short of heroes.

The White Helmets are the subject of Last Men in Aleppo, the searing documentary directed by Feras Fayyad that won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Captured with incredible intimacy and urgency, Last Men in Aleppo shows the White Helmets at work in the wake of bombing raids. The film provides exceptional access. Volunteers wear microphones for the filming, and viewers can hear them as they share information, give directions and pray. When they learn of a raid, they speed through chaotic streets full of rubble. They dig through piles of concrete and metal, sometimes using construction equipment, other times their bare hands.