In Arabic with English subtitles.
Tampere Film Festival, Friday, 6 March 2015
Tampere Film Festival: "The Deserter is an animated film about a high-ranking Syrian police officer, who graduated the police academy a few years before the Syrian Uprising. 'I felt then that the duty of every honest citizen was to help save what was to be saved from the hands of the corrupt people backed by the ruling junta,' he says. He ends up betraying his government after witnessing its organized brutality towards ordinary people. As he also has a medical degree, he begins to offer secret medical aid to the victims of the violence. Apart from the personal story, the film touches upon the birth of the ongoing conflict in Syria through the narrator's own experiences and memories. He talks about corruption, the decades-long oppression of the Sunni Muslims, the refugees starving at the camps in neighbouring countries, the indifference of the rest of the world, and the radicalization of ordinary citizens. This man, who chose helping instead of killing, has to pay a high price for his actions."
AA: The devastating story of Syria as an animation based on a true story starts in a small village outside Aleppo. There is a rich panorama of life caught in lively and exciting tracking shots. There is an account of the police force seen from the inside. Anti-government graffiti leads to police repression. There is a simple, efficient graphic quality in the account on police torture and executions. The injustice fires a rebellion. The protagonist helps victims and warns about planned raids. The protagonist himself is warned. "Therefore I left Syria." The protagonist helps rebels as a doctor. The unjust silence of the world raises questions in Syria. The children are left in a place of no return. "All my attempts to get asylum failed until I came to Finland."
I like the sober and stark quality of this engrossing animation.