Hiam Abbass, Diamand Bou Abboud, Juliette Navis
Directed by Philippe Van Leeuw (The Day God Walked Away) and featuring a terrific central performance by Hiam Abbas, this gripping, Syria-set war drama won the Panoroma Audience Award at the 2017 Berlinale.
The story revolves around the contemporary reality of life for many in the war-torn country, with its focus on Oum (Abbas), a mother-of-three who is confined inside her flat in a city under siege. Turning it into a safe haven for her family and neighbours, she tries desperately to protect them from the savagery of the battles outside and maintain a sense of normal routine.
But as bombs threaten to destroy the building, snipers turn the courtyards into kill zones and government officials and burglars break in to steal, threaten violence and worse, war inevitably infiltrates the flat. What must be done to survive the repetitive, senseless violence of war – not just physically, but morally, psychically and emotionally – is at the heart of this important, resonant and tragically still timely film.