ENCORE 5 – Of Fathers and Sons

Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award 2018Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award - Honorable Mention 2018


Four years after his groundbreaking documentary Return to Homs, Talal Derki brings us another intimate and unwavering view of his former homeland, Syria. Astonishing access combined with precise and faintly elegiac cinematography yields bone-chilling insight into a world rarely glimpsed by anyone outside jihadist circles. Here, Derki trains his camera on a family of young boys stringently ruled by their father, Abu Osama. A fighter for Al-Nusra, Abu Osama openly shares his views of Al-Qaeda and his ardent desire to strengthen an Islamic caliphate. As the film progresses, we witness him shoot from a sniper’s perch, harshly berate his wife, and send his sons to a rigorous military training camp; we also observe his fatherly pride and raw affection, as he continually pulls his sons in close for long hugs. Ultimately, we see that Abu Osama is single minded in his pursuits, at all costs. Neither loss of limb nor loss of his sons’ childhoods will deter his aim.  WFM

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