Close Syrian doc – The Hollywood Reporter

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Images of revolution tend to be similar over time: mass street protests, crackdowns with riot police, unarmed protesters risking their lives against the powers that be. We have seen most of them before, and yet every time we come across them they capture us anew.

In the Syrian documentary 5 The season of the atonementsome of these familiar images appear, but they are combined with something we haven’t seen before: lots of pictures of young reporters and activists sitting around apartments on their phones or computers, making the conversion happen online when they can’t. make it happen on the streets.

5 The season of the atonement

The bottom line

A personal account of violence and rebellion.

This is what Revolution 2.0 looks like, and it helped fuel the Arab Spring protests that swept through North Africa and the Middle East more than a decade ago, reaching Syria in 2011. The answer was to the movement was a massive repression by President Bashar al-Assad that led to a devastating and ongoing civil war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of international refugees and a country that remains divided to this day.

In 5 Seasonsa young Syrian reporter who, for security reasons, goes by the first name Lina only, compiled photographs she shot of herself and her comrades during the uprising ‘ going down in his homeland, describing a daily grind full of tension, anticipation and a lot of waiting – for friends to return safely from a march or from prison, or for Assad to launch another deadly attack on his own people.

Although Lina is from a high-class family and lives safely in Damascus, danger is never far away for her and her fellow reporters/revolutionaries, who fear being constantly arrested. Every time they step out the door, there is danger, and driving around town becomes a game of trying to find or get through checkpoints set up by the army on foot.

By the end of the film, Lina, journalists Bassel and Malaz, and activists Rima and Susu have all been detained at some point. They must all flee from Syria, perhaps never to return, as long as one of them does not live. 5 Seasons thus a fly-on-the-wall picture of a revolution as seen from the inside, but also a picture of a young generation whose life would have ended with the war.

Lina, who had just graduated from journalism school when the revolution began, bravely went out to document events at a time when reporters were often rounded up and imprisoned by the regime. She traveled to Homs early because it became the main bed for the opposition FSA (Free Syrian Army), made up of soldiers who were protected from the Assad regime. Soon the government was bombing Homs daily, targeting civilians and soldiers alike in a bloody reprisal that wiped out the entire city.

Lina captures some of this destruction, including a harrowing interview with an FSA fighter who was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet. But for the most part she remains stuck in Damascus as her country slowly falls apart, occasionally arguing with her friends about whether or not building up arms will help the cause. it only makes things worse.

Unfortunately, we now know the answer: not only did Assad suppress the resistance with countless bombs, gas attacks and civilian massacres, but the armed revolution, supported from US-provided weapons, divided into factions that lead to even more unnecessary bloodshed. By the time the film ends in 2015, Lina and her friends are doing everything they can to make it out of the country in one piece.

And yet, there is hope amidst the destruction, both physical and psychological, that Lina recounts in a film that shows how people manage to come together against violence in the darkest times. This feeling is best reflected in Lina’s close friend, Rima, a lively young social worker who fearlessly hit the streets of Damascus waving a banner that read “Stop the Killing,” which launched a movement to spread to other cities.

It was an unstoppable movement against the Assad regime, but far from being forgotten, and Rima became a public symbol of protest in Syria thanks to her courage. She ends up being arrested several times, including a long stay in prison where her fate remains uncertain for almost two months. When she is finally released during a prisoner exchange with Turkey, she spends the night smoking cigarettes and catching up with her friends, a smile on her face. This is a picture that will stay with us.

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