The twilight before the nightmare...
The twilight before the nightmare...

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The War Show is a documentary directed by Obaidah Zytoon and Andreas Dalsgaard, and edited from footage Zytoon shot between 2011 to 2012. The film follows young DJ-turned-videojournalist, Zytoon, as the exuberant Arab Spring is annihilated by horrific regime violence. Zytoon shows astonishing bravery as she embeds with the rebels, but she is also aware of the fact that her work is being used as a funding tool by comrades-in-arms and Islamists who despise her freedoms.

Before documenting the firefights and atrocities that began in March, 2011, Zytoon filmed what would become an elegy for pre-war youth culture: Her stoned, relaxed gatherings with friends like musician Rabea, once imprisoned for his affiliation with the heavy metal scene; Lulu, whom we first see in a hijab, as she learns to smoke weed; and gentle Houssam, who will suffer an unspeakable fate at the hands of Assad’s executioners. Though the horror is judiciously spaced out, it’s upsetting enough that any attempt to find hope feels false. Yet one can't begrudge the refugee filmmaker’s belief that “the destiny of the people is to survive.”

The War Show screens at Grand Illusion from June 1 to June 8.