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Real world hero in Aleppo (Photo: PR)

“Last Men in Aleppo” – a heartbreaking documentary

First showed film this year’s CPH:DOX festival is a haunting film about war-stricken Syrians who fight not only for their own lives but also for other children and adults life. They call themselves “The forgotten” but the scenes from the film are almost impossible to forget

Review by: Mila

This scene made some of audience leave the film hall because they could not handle to watch:

Adult men standing in the dust of a missile just bombed house while we hear the chaos in the background. They help each other lift another large stone. Now we can see a small, black-haired head of boy show up. They pull the boy out. His head and half of his face are covered with his red blood. A man carries him away in his arms and yells “He is alive”.

Unfortunately this is everyday life for residents in Aleppo. The thought is frightful.

Last men in Aleppo is directed by Feras Fayyad in collaboration with Danish film-maker Steven Johannessen and the Aleppo Media Centre. The documentary follows the brave volunteers as Khaled and Mahmoud of the aid organisation, White Helmets in Aleppo and gives a glimpse into the daily lives of some of the people who have chosen not to escape from war. However, Last Men in Aleppo feels like a long and depressing story of sacrifice. But the documentary shows the reality from Aleppo.

The documentary is full of symbols and little gruesome details. A lot of bird’s eye view and total pictures is used to show destruction in the city. We see volunteers find hands, feet and other body parts in the rubble. As an audience you think about the fact that it is a 100% documentary and you cannot stop your tears or hide your desperation.

Everyone in the documentary is the main person but the children are on the focus too. Fayyad shows how it is to be a child in a war country. They play outside under the bomb while their parents are worried about them. Aid organisations takes children to a playground but the moment of joy gets destroyed as jets fly over them. After these episodes parents as Khaled begin to consider escaping to Turkey only for a better life. But as Khaled says “I rather die in my country than go to the refugee camps in another country.”  This is a message from him to other people who do not understand why people become refugees.

Last Men in Aleppo portrays Aleppo as none of the mainstream media have dared to do so even though it is hard to watch you must watch it. It will make you think about the Syrian chaos deeply and even for many days.


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