7.4/10
468
6 user 45 critic

In Syria (2017)

Insyriated (original title)
A mother attempts to keep her family safe as war rages and a sniper lies in wait outside her home. This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale.

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4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Halima
Juliette Navis ...
Mohsen Abbas ...
Abou Monzer
Moustapha Al Kar ...
Samir
Alissar Kaghadou ...
Yara
Ninar Halabi ...
Aliya
Mohammad Jihad Sleik ...
Yazan
Elias Khatter ...
Karim
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Le premier homme
Issan Dib ...
Le premier brancardier
Orwa Khultum ...
Le deuxième homme
Madjd Tarabay ...
Halima and Samir's baby
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Storyline

Trapped inside her house in a city under siege, a mother of three turns her flat into a safe harbour for her family and neighbours in an attempt to protect them from the war raging on the streets of Damascus, in the latest from Philippe Van Leeuw (The Life of Jesus).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 September 2017 (France)  »

Also Known As:

In Syria  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The twenty-five-day shooting took place in an apartment building in the center of Beirut. See more »

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User Reviews

 
An emotional punch in the stomach
1 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

Most war movies are about soldiers and generals, trying to defeat the enemy. Not this one. 'Insyriated' is about what war does to the daily life of ordinary citizens. That can be even more gruesome to watch than scenes from a battlefield.

The film is set almost entirely in an apartment, where an extended family of nine tries to survive the war. The neighbourhood is constantly bombed, snipers are roaming the streets, there is no running water and no cell phone coverage. The front door of the apartment is barricaded. The rest of the building has been abandoned, left to looters and rapists.

In these circumstances, the family tries to live life as normal as possibly. During air raids, the teenage daughters listen to music on their smartphone, one earbud for each, as teenagers do. The grandfather quietly smokes his cigarettes and hugs his grandson. In the morning, family members quarrel about who can use the bathroom.

But the war is everywhere. There is no escape from it. The film shows how the lives of the family members are increasingly being dominated by fear, despair and anger. These human emotions are far more powerful to show the effects of war than even the most intense battlefield scene.

The decision to film everything within one apartment is a masterstroke. It creates a claustrophobic tension, and it helps the viewer to identify with the family members. Of course, this only works with a superb cast. The two powerful female leads stand out in particular. The mother, played by Arab-Israeli actress Hiam Abass, is great in hiding her true emotions and suppressing her fear to prevent unsettling her children. When she breaks down, at last, the impact is devastating. But the Lebanese actress Diamand Bou Abboud is no less impressive as the upstairs neighbour who has fled to the apartment with her baby, after her own apartment has been bombed.

One of the great things about the film is also that it doesn't spell out the war. In fact, nothing is being explained. We don't know who is fighting whom, or why. It doesn't matter. War is ugly anyhow. Apart from the title, there is even no indication that it takes place in Syria. It is a universal story.

Apart from being an emotional punch in the stomach, the film contains a lot of suspense. The script is very clever. Already in the first few minutes, a terrible incident creates a heart breaking dilemma for some family members. During the rest of the film, some other high-impact events make you sit on the edge of your chair.

'Insyriated' is definitively one of the best films I've seen this year. Maybe even the best. It would make a great candidate for the foreign language Oscars. What a pity that the producing countries, France and Belgium, have chosen other films. Neither one can even stand in the shadow of 'Insyriated'.


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