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One Day in Aleppo    cover photo

One Day in Aleppo 2017

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Feras Fayyad
Directed by Ali Alibraham
DVD , color, 88 min.



High School - General Adult
War Victims, Syria, Middle East, Sociology

Date Entered: 04/30/2018

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

Following screenings of Last Men in Aleppo, many asked how the people of Aleppo live their lives. This relatively short documentary uses drone footage and views of people in settings both intimate and horrific to present the viewer with a snapshot of life in Aleppo, Syria from sunup to sundown during an average day. The day itself seems to be in July of 2017. Beginning with sunup, we see a group of people moving quickly as an aircraft roars above…the sound of both jets and helicopter gunships is often in the background throughout this production. Watching this, it would be hard not to be impressed by the resiliency of the people who try to make life as normal as possible in such conditions and their ability to improvise with what materials they have. One group of men is shown distilling what appears to be petrol from scrap plastic by heating it in an old boiler. Although not named, the “Catman of Aleppo” is shown tending to his numerous cats. (He even has a Facebook page.) There are scenes of casualties in various contexts, especially pulling the injured from the rubble of damaged buildings. One also sees a morgue and then the dead being buried. In the midst of all these scenes of horror, children still play and paint on walls, but what they paint depicts what they endure. There is no dialogue per se and no subtitles for any conversation or Arabic script captured in these scenes. All libraries with an audience of high school and adult should consider.

Awards

  • Winner, Jury Special Mention, Visions du Reel
  • Winner, Best Documentary Short, London Independent Film Awards
  • Winner, Grand Jury Special Mention, Message to Men International Film Festival
  • Winner, Best International Documentary Short Film, Shorts Mexico
  • Winner, PerSo Short Award, PerSO Film Festival
  • Winner, Audience Award, Best International Short Film, Festival de Cine de Madrid
  • Winner, Best First-Time Director, Film London Awards, 2017