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Last Men in Aleppo

2017
Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Søren Steen Jesperson, Kareem Abeed, Stefan Kloos
Directed by Feras Fayyad
DVD , color, 104 min.
High School - General Adult
Sociology, Syria, Civil War, Politics and Government, Emergency Management


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

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 3/1/2018

This highly acclaimed documentary follows three emergency volunteer workers in besieged Aleppo, Syria. Their organization is commonly known as “The White Helmets” and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The film follows the lives of three protagonists: Khaled, Subhi, and Mahmoud as they go on their missions, at home, and off-duty in the midst of the ongoing Syrian Civil War. The scenes of devastation are gripping and seeing these men rush into truly deadly situations to extract those trapped in rubble is both amazing and horrifying. Seeing them pull live, and dead, victims, most particularly children, is heart-rending. One incident in the film finds these volunteers coming under fire on a road as they render assistance. When not performing their rescue duties, the men have families and homes to attend. These are touchingly depicted. The work takes a heavy toll on them all both emotionally and physically. The last scene depicts the burial of Khaled, who perished in the performance of what he volunteered to do. This is one of the saddest documentaries I have ever seen. Technically, this production is flawless and it is no wonder that it has been nominated for an Academy Award. The dialogue is in Arabic with subtitles in English; credits in English and Arabic. All libraries with audiences of high school age through adult clientele should consider purchasing.

Numerous awards including

  • Winner, Grand Jury Documentary Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 2017
  • Nominated for Best Documentary, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Oscar Award, 2018