Return to Homs

This powerful 2013 documentary takes viewers inside the besieged Syrian city of Homs, where insurgents have been fighting Bashar al-Assad’s military since mid-2011. Director Talal Derki assembled the movie from more than two years’ worth of footage, focusing on the most harrowing aspects of the armed conflict and of the destruction left in its wake. The images have an immediate, visceral impact; at the same time, Derki’s plaintive narration is often beautifully elegiac, its perspective philosophical and even cosmic. In one scene Derki tours a bombed-out building and notes, “The only things breaking the silence are the singing of birds and the roar of bombardment.” In Arabic with subtitles.