“LAST MEN OF ALEPPO”

March 03, 2018 at 4:45 am

The POV documentary reveals a firsthand account of the daily trauma that grips the city of Aleppo during Syria’s Civil War. The film, now a historic Academy Award contender, traces the terrifying aftermath of the war and the story of the volunteer rescue workers and first responders, the White Helmets, who stayed behind, risking their own lives to save others. The film’s director, Feras Fayyad joins us for a frank conversation.

Aired on March 2, 2018. 

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>> HERE AT "METROFOCUS," WE
PRIDE OURSELVES IN BRINGING YOU
FRESH PERSPECTIVES NOT ONLY FROM
THE TRI-STATE AREA, BUT FROM THE
COUNTRY.
LAST SEASON, WE BROUGHT YOU
SEARING FILMMAKER'S DOCUMENTARY,
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, A POWERFUL
FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF THE DAILY
TRAUMA THAT GRIPPED THE CITY OF
ALEPPO FOR YEARS.
THE FILM THAT CAPTIVATED
AUDIENCES ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAS
NOW BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN
ACADEMY AWARD.
THE FILM TELLS THE STORY OF THE
WHITE HELMETS WHO MADE IT THEIR
MISSION TO RESCUE SURVIVORS FROM
AIR ATTACKS WHEN THE RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT AND THEIR ALLIES
REDUCED THE CITY TO RUBBLE.
>> NOW IN RECOGNITION OF THE
FILMMAKERS OSCAR NOMINATION, I
HAD A CONVERSATION WITH HIM
ABOUT WHAT HE LEARNED ABOUT THE
MAKING OF THE FILM.
>> ACTUALLY, I DISCOVERED
MANY -- HOW YOU CAN BE HUMAN
MORE AND HOW YOU CAN PROTECT
YOUR HUMAN BEINGS BY YOU.
I DISCOVERED THE MEANING OF
TRUST, WHEN YOU'RE IN A GROUP,
THEY WALK TOGETHER CHGT THESE
PEOPLE THEY TRY TO GIVE
EVERYTHING, THEY SACRIFICE IN
EVERYTHING TO CONTINUE THEIR
LIFE AND THIS SACRIFICE IS
COMING BECAUSE THAT MAKES THEM
CONTINUE THEIR LIVES, THAT MAKES
THEM BELIEVE THEIR LIFE WILL
CONTINUE ONE DAY, RESCUE A
CHILD, A MOM OR A FATHER.
>> IT'S CLEAR FROM THE FILM THAT
THESE MEN ARE FAR FROM GLORY
SEEKERS, THEY DON'T WANT THE
GLORY, IN FACT THEY'RE
EMBARRASSED WHEN PEOPLE WHOSE
LIVES THEY SAVED TRIED TO THANK
THEM.
SO HOW DID YOU GET THEM TO ALLOW
YOU TO ENTER THEIR LIVES AND TO
FOLLOW THEM WITH YOUR CAMERA IN
THIS DANGEROUS MISSION?
>> ACTUALLY THIS IS A GREAT
QUESTION.
AND FOR THEM, THEY BELIEVE THAT
WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THEY HAVE
DONE JUST FOR GOODNESS, FOR
THEIR PEOPLE, FOR THEIR
NEIGHBORS, FOR THEIR FRIENDS AND
THE POINT THAT WE START TOGETHER
FROM THAT, IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT
YOU, IT'S ABOUT THE COMMITTING
OF THE CRIMES THAT'S HAPPENING
AROUND YOU THAT INVOLVES
EVERYONE, WATCHING A MOVIE TO
FILL IN THEIR RESPONSIBILITY THE
PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW.
WE HAVE TO TRUST THE PEOPLE WHO
WATCH THIS MOVIE WILL TAKE
ACTION.
MANY TIMES THEY SAY IT'S ENOUGH,
IT'S TOO MUCH FOR US TO BE IN
FRONT OF THE CAMERA, MANY TIMES.
BUT ALL THE TIME, I TRY TO TELL
THEM, AS YOU DO YOUR JOB, I HAVE
TO DO MY JOB.
I'M A SYRIAN AND YOU ARE A
SYRIAN.
YOU HAVE TO RESCUE THE CHILDREN
AND THEY HAVE TO SHOW THIS IS
FOR THE WORLD, FOR EVERYONE WHO
SHOULD TAKE ACTION, WHO SHOULD
INVOLVE WITH US TO BE WITNESSES
ON THE CRIMES THAT HAPPEN IN
SYRIA TO DO ANY ACTION TO STOP
US FROM GOING TO WAR.
>> SO FOR US THE MILLION DOLLAR
QUESTION THAT NOBODY HAS FOUND
AN ANSWER TO, IS HOW DO YOU
BRING PEACE AN RECONCILIATION TO
SYRIA?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER?
>> MY ANSWER AND THE ANSWER IF
YOU ASK THE DIRECTOR OF THE
FILM, WHAT DO YOU WANT?
EVERY ONE OF THEM, EVERY
VOLUNTEER IN THE WHITE HELMET,
HE WOULD SAY I DON'T WANT TO DO
THIS JOB ANYMORE.
THEN STOP THIS WAR.
HOW CAN WE STOP THE WAR?
IT'S THINKING ABOUT THE JUSTICE
THAT'S COMING, THE PEACE THAT'S
COMING.
WITHOUT JUSTICE THAT'S NO PEACE.
WHAT I MEAN IN THE JUSTICE, TAKE
ALL WHO'S INVOLVED IN THE WAR
CRIMES IN SYRIA TO THE COURT,
THEN SUS AS SYRIANS WILL START O
COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER, BUT
IF WE LEAVE THE WAR IN THIS
PLACE, THEN THE PEOPLE ALL THE
TIME WILL REMEMBER WHO KILLED
THEIR CHILDREN, WHO KILLED THEIR
FAMILIES, WHO BOMBED THEIR
CITIES, FORCED THEM TO LEAVE
THEIR HOUSES, DESTROYED THEIR
HOUSES.
WITHOUT JUSTICE THERE IS NO
PEACE.
>> THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL
FILM.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> FOR THE FILM "LAST MEN IN
ALEPPO" HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR
BEST ACADEMY FEATURE, AND THE