Film Archive

International Programme 2014
Our Terrible Country Mohammad Ali Atassi, Ziad Homsi

Syria: A young photographer accompanies a well-known dissident on his flight from the fighting, the ISIS and into exile. Rough and direct – reflections in a hail of bullets.

Our Terrible Country

Documentary Film
85 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Christin Luettich
Mohammad Ali Atassi, Ziad Homsi
Ziad Homsi, Saeed Al-Batal
Marwan Ziadeh
Mohammad Ali Atassi
Nadim Mishlawi
Act 1: Ziad Homsi, 24, photographer and freedom fighter, meets the intellectual and “doctor of the revolution”, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, in Ghouta, the first city liberated in the Syrian civil war. However far-fetched the idea might seem on the backdrop of ongoing fighting in the streets and the complete destruction of the city, Homsi begins to shoot a portrait of the famous dissident. At first insecure about how to deal with the other, an increasingly close relationship develops between the two.
Act 2: ar-Raqqa. Saleh’s hometown is conquered by ISIS terrorists, his brother arrested and detained. He has no choice – he must go back. Homsi accompanies him. After an exhausting 20-day journey through (still) liberated territory, they reach the town, only to hide from the ISIS fanatics there who hunt down everyone who’s intelligent, educated and an independent thinker. They don’t find the brother.
Act 3: forced exile. Saleh flees from the growing ISIS terror to Istanbul, where he also sees his young friend Homsi again – a meeting of two generations united by their revolution with all its hopes, disappointments and setbacks. The idea that was worth fighting and dying for is gone. What’s left is the hope of returning one day. To do what?
Matthias Heeder