Return to Homs (2014) — Syria
Since the peaceful Arab Spring that began in 2011, Syria has become what the former Secretary of State Warren Christopher called, in reference to Bosnia, "a problem from hell." More than 200,000 people have died. Over half the population of 22 million people have fled the country or been internally displaced. President Bashar al-Assad has bombed his own country into oblivion, and he now controls only about a sixth of its territory. A dozen countries now fight a proxy war there, along with twice that many insurgent militia groups. This PBS documentary film aired in July of 2015. Before then it won the 2014 Sundance World Cinema Prize for best documentary. It focuses on the transformation of Basset Saroot from a national star soccer player, to a non-violent leader of the Arab Spring, to an armed insurgent leader. "Peaceful resistance is futile," he says. "We're dealing with people who don't fear God." The movie was filmed from August 2011 to April 2013, so further complexities of the civil war have dated its narrative. Nonetheless, if you can bear to watch the carnage at such close range, it puts a human face on the apocalypse that is now Syria. Saroot asks a question: "O world, what are you waiting for?" I watched this film for free on the PBS website.