fri 22/09/2017

Syria

Insyriated review - claustrophobic terror in a Damascus war zone

It doesn’t take long, I think, to work out the associations of the title of Insyriated: we are surely being presented with a variation of “incarceration”, one tinged by the very specific context of the conflict that has ravaged Syria for six years...

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The State, Channel 4 review - dishonest portrait of British jihadis

It’s a burning question of western civilisation: what persuades young people brought up among us to walk out on their lives and join the cult of murderous fanatics who call themselves Islamic State? If any dramatist could attempt a coherent answer...

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City of Ghosts review - chilling but inspiring report on Syria's citizen journalists

Raqqa was once a prosperous if little-known town in northern Syria. Since 2014, however, it has served as the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-styled caliphate, and as such has been physically decimated, its population subjected to increasingly...

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The Other Side of Hope review - Aki Kaurismäki at his tragicomic best

It takes real skill to make a film about a desperate Syrian refugee and a dour middle-aged Finn reinventing himself and turn it into the warmest, most life-enhancing film I’ve seen this year. But Aki Kaurismäki has form, he’s been making movies...

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Syria’s Disappeared review - 'must-watch can't-look record of Assad's atrocities'

“The following images are extremely graphic.” The words appeared in white lettering against a black background, two-thirds of the way in. For the next minute, the screen filled with photographs of naked, emaciated corpses, some with crude writing...

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War Child, Channel 4

In the mindset of Nigel Farage and his biddable followers, the route from Asia into Europe throngs with undesirables. Their threatening faces can be plastered on a vote-winning poster. In this calamitous failure of empathy, young men – hordes of...

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DVD: The Music of Strangers

A welcome antidote to the mood of a time which seems hell-bent on closing borders and building walls, The Music of Strangers is about a unique musical collective that breaks through division and reaffirms the potential of culture to unite. Subtitled...

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The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, with Damon Albarn & Guests, RFH

Before playing a version of  “Out of Time”, the lead single from Blur’s 2003 album Think Tank, Damon Albarn explains that “at Glastonbury, it really was out of time: there was a problem with our monitors and we were about a bar a half out.”...

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When Hamlet came to a Syrian refugee camp

It would have been impossible to go to Syria. Our plan to perform Hamlet in every nation in the world faced its biggest obstacle to date and the Globe producers were left pondering a Plan B. We considered performing in a Syrian embassy - technically...

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Storyville: A Syrian Love Story, BBC Four

Managing the boundaries of closeness in documentary filmmaking can be a complicated issue. Does the documentarist figure only as a fly-on-the-wall observer – or become involved, caught up in the story of his or her subject? Is it possible to...

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Dispatches: Escape from Isis, Channel 4

“Say your last words before you leave this life.” Somewhere in the so-called Islamic State, a woman was accused of adultery. Her father joined her accusers, then, as her shrouded body was lowered into a pit, picked up a rock and hurled it at her. We...

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Dan Cruickshank's Civilisation Under Attack, BBC Four

This was one of the most disturbing, terrifying and informative programmes imaginable, made more so by Dan Cruickshank’s calm demeanour as he interrogated everyone from scholars to fanatics about the actions and rationale of the Islamic State (IS)...

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