Thanks to The Sydney Film Festival, we had the chance to see “Last Men in Aleppo” before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!

“Last Men in Aleppo” is a documentary directed by Feras Fayyed. The film takes audiences into the heart of the war torn city of Aleppo in Syria. The documentary follows two white helmet workers, Khaled a husband and father and Mahmoud a younger man. The White Helmets are officially known as the Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer organisation working in parts of Syria and Turkey. As a result of the Russian bombings, the city is full of collapsed buildings, rubble and corpses. The White Helmet workers perform search and rescue missions, helping to find people in bomb destroyed buildings and evacuate dangerous areas.

The documentary is highly engaging and confronting to watch. It doesn’t shy away from showing the death, chaos and nightmare of living in Aleppo. There were gasps and shrieks from the audience as white helmets workers pulled out bloodied children (both dead and alive) out of collapsed buildings. Body parts strewn the streets and the harsh sounds of Russian jet fighters fill the sky. The film is honest, giving the audience a snapshot into the horrific situation in Syria.

The documentary is also about friendship, loyalty and survival. Khaled, the father of two resonates with the audience as an ordinary loving father trying to make the best of a desperate situation. The moral conflict of staying in Aleppo or fleeing to Turkey constantly plagues his mind. As a man who has lived his whole life in Aleppo leaving isn’t an easy choice, as thousands of Syrians who have left haven’t been allowed entry into Turkey.

“Last Men in Aleppo” is a real eye opener and truly makes one grateful for the Western societal privileges we take for granted. In Syria death is a grim reality. The people in Aleppo are living on the instinct of survival, knowing at any moment a bomb could destroy their homes, a concept for Westerners which is hard to grasp. The film deals with the situation in a way that isn’t overly political as the focus is on the bravery of the White Helmet workers and the lives of people living in Aleppo.

“Last Men in Aleppo” is a must see! The film shines a light on the situation in Syria and humanises the war through showing the struggles of people living day to day. “Last Men in Aleppo” is about the courage and bravery of the White Helmet Workers and highlights the power of the human spirit.

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