Does anyone remember how the fights in Syria began? Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution is a documentary by Matthew VanDyke that actually takes us back to the day “Day of Rage” on March 15, 2011. That day a group of 200 mostly young protesters gathered in Damascus to demand democratic reforms and the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The 14-minute documentary details Syria’s struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32-year-old rebel fighter and a 24-year-old female journalist in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city. How important stories about intervention, national-regional-international politics are, in the end it is about ordinary people’s lives. This documentary appears to be a nice reminder of that.
Not Anymore: A story of Revolution is a documentary short film that tells the story of the Syrian struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32 year old rebel fighter, Mowya, and a 24 year old female journalist, Nour, in Aleppo, Syria. The film is a 15 minute documentary short about why the Syrian people are fighting for their freedom, told through the emotional words of two powerful characters whose lives have been turned upside down and torn apart by war.
Nour is a schoolteacher-turned-journalist who faces death on the front lines to tell the world about the war that is destroying her country. The film’s title is derived from the opening line of the film, when Nour says, “I used to wear fancy dresses and high heels. Not anymore.” Now she wears body armor and a helmet. She is fearless, determined, and brilliant, but also lives with the pain of friends who have been tortured, raped, and murdered by the Assad regime. She tells not only her story, but theirs, and in so doing she shows the audience what life is like for a Syrian girl who is spending her 20s in war as everything she knows and loves is destroyed.
Mowya is a young rebel commander who bears the scars, physical and psychological, of seven months of torture at the hands of the Assad regime. But this hasn’t broken his spirit. With incredible wit and brilliance he tells his story and laments what has been lost in his city due to war. With disbelief and sadness he walks the streets of ancient Aleppo, telling of how life used to be in a thriving, vibrant city whose heart, as Mowya says, has stopped. With a great deal of charisma he clearly articulates why the Syrian people are fighting for their freedom.
Syria war documentary film cast
The film concludes with the powerful image of Mowya and Nour, as Nour pets a small cat in her arms. Mowya suggests that the film be put on YouTube so that people in America will see that there are cats in Syria who need help, because so far nobody is helping the Syrian people, but perhaps they will send help at least for the cats. When asked if Syrians feel that the world would be more likely to help prevent animal cruelty than human suffering, he says yes.
Mowya acknowledges that it is hyperbole to say that Americans care more for the well being of cats than that of fellow humans, but the implication rings true. And it echoes through the mind of the audience. What is the value of human life? What is the value of freedom? And what can we do, as individuals, to help restore some balance, to help the Nours and Mowyas of Syria.
You can watch the powerful trailer here. And yes, I warn you, it is powerful and intense.