In Syria

Chamber drama doesn’t begin to describe this gripping French feature (2017) by writer-director Philippe Van Leeuw, because the chamber in question is a dingy apartment building in Damascus at the height of the Syrian civil war. Inside, a young couple with a baby review their plans to escape to Beirut that evening, but no sooner has the husband (Moustapha Al Kar) left the building than he’s taken down by a sniper; though this incident is witnessed by a maid next door (Juliette Navis), she and her mistress (Hiam Abbass of The Visitor) are too frightened to run outside and help him, so they resolve to keep the news from his unsuspecting wife (Diamand Bou Abboud) until nightfall. Van Leeuw captures the terror and claustrophobia of a city under siege, where savagery seems to lurk around every corner and people must choose between others’ survival and their own. In Arabic with subtitles.