Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Joining the 2011 street protests against the oppressive Assad regime, Syrian radio host Obaidah Zytoon armed herself with a video camera, determined to propel the Arab Spring forward. The regime’s violent reprisals that followed the uprising continue to shock the world and have dispersed refugees to all corners, but this painfully poignant film, so much more than a collection of distant and disturbing images of war, personalises its dispatches from the Syrian frontline with an intimacy and lucidity that cuts right through the banality of evil.
Assembling Zytoon’s footage, co-director Andreas Dalsgaard (The Human Scale) threads in the simple dreams and fragile hope of individuals – a bright young revolutionary who just wants to play in the streets, a proud Syrian who returns home to fight despite leading a blessed life in Greece, and many of Zytoon’s best friends and fellow activists – together with the complicated role video plays in the conflict, on both sides of the equation, in a way that recalls the personal and moral enquiry of last year’s superb Cameraperson. As Zytoon’s poetic narration concedes, “There was a place for everybody in the war show, except the people.” Bravely carried out of the war zone, her documentary movingly restores some of the names, faces and identities obscured by the everyday spectacle of terrorism and extremism. — Tim Wong
“The War Show reminds us that there are indeed living, breathing, and loving individuals just trying their best to endure this war-torn time period in their homeland. Sometimes just trying to stay out of the way of war is blatantly impossible, and the only thing left to do is embrace those you love and hope to live another day.” — Jordan M. Smith, Ioncinema.com