Everyday Activist - Last Men in Aleppo (Oscars 2018)

Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 09:00 PM

Last Men in Aleppo (Oscars 2018)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

I’m so happy this one made the final five in the Oscar race. It forms the continuation of last year’s short documentary Oscar winner, White Helmets (Netflix). That fact that I’m STILL writing about this war upsets me and every year it seems worse. This documentary shows what the Human Rights Watch writes about. Bombing civilians and targeting hospitals as well as the White Helmet headquarters is not okay. Why bother having a United Nations if these injustices continue?

The White Helmets are a civilian group made up of people from all walks of life have banded together to form, Syria Civil Defence. As the film title implies, there is a lot of discussion between the men about whether to stay or go. Syria is their home and yet it’s not safe. Their kids can’t get proper food or medicine on top of all the violence of watching friends, neighbors, relatives and strangers die in front them constantly. Even taking their kids to the park with other parents carries huge amounts of risk as ANY gathering automatically becomes targeted.

As a therapist, I watch for signs of post traumatic stress in the interviews. Having watched both documentaries about the White Helmets, I’m truly humbled by their resilience, though in the feature length film, I’m not surprised at the mounting despair and the need to be surrounded by living things. At one of the stations they set up a fish pond with live fish as a reminder of better times.

Despite all the documentaries made, plus news reports, one of the White Helmets in the film comments no one cares about Syria. This has been true since at least 2010, when I watched a short film with a Syrian man imploring America to care by making sure among the rubble he filmed a cat and an attractive female activist. Americans care about cats, he said. I had to share that, because among the rubble in this film which was far more devastating than in 2010, they filmed a cat. And Last Men in Aleppo made top five for the Oscars. Coincidence? Maybe.

Last Men in Aleppo is available on Netflix as is White Helmets. I would watch White Helmets first, because it gives information about the training programs as well as the rescue missions for better context. The people featured for the most part are the same. Just a little older and more tired. I needed tissue, especially at the end.   

Calgary Showtimes: Last Men in Aleppo >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.