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Of Fathers and Sons

New Voices in Cinema

/ Feature Documentary / Syria, Germany, Qatar / 2017
In Arabic / English subtitles
Rated: Parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13. Individuals under the age of 13 are not admitted into cinemas unless accompanied by an individual aged 18 or older.

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Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki returns after his Sundance prize-winning documentary ‘Return To Homs’ (2013) with a vivid and deeply disturbing portrait of a household gripped by extreme jihadism. For more than two years he lived with the family of Abu Osama, an Al-Nusra fighter in a small village in northern Syria. Focussing mainly on his children, the film provides an exceptionally rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose sole dream is to establish an Islamic Caliphate.

There are fleeting moments of tenderness between father and son, but these only serve as a stark contrast to the ever-darkening events as the film unfolds and the lives of his children are irrevocably changed. Through the journey of his two oldest sons, Osama (13) and Ayman (12), we see how all behaviour, be it compassion or hate, is passed down or learned. Capturing the lives of these vulnerable and impressionable boys as they stand at a crossroads in their development, Derki enables us to emotionally experience and understand the complex tragedy of life in war-torn Syria.

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