Dalsgaard og Zytoon: The War Show 4/

Så har The War Show haft premiere i Venezia. Jeg var der ikke og kan ikke skrive anmeldelse, men nu vi her på Filmkommentaren et par gange har skrevet om filmen i blinde, vil jeg da også lige citere de første anmeldelser. 


John Bleasdale, CINEVUE, skriver til sidst i sin anmeldelse: “… This is a war without bounds and the evidence of systemic war crime is increasingly obvious. Some of the footage is suitably difficult to watch but the unhelpful sticker of ‘war porn’ need not be applied here. Zytoon is a knowledgeable and sure guide through the stunning tragedy. She notes that one of the towns they visit, Zabadani, was the site of the first crime, when Cain slew Abel. She is also fully conscious of how the camera is not a hovering entity separate from the conflict, but is now part of the conflict, changing how people behave, how they fight and what they are prepared to do. One man fires at a helicopter, putting everyone in immediate danger, and one suspects he wouldn’t have bothered if he didn’t think he’d look like Rambo for the camera.

In other cases, a man strips off to display his wounds from torture, hoping for some affirmation, some proof of how he has been treated. As the war progressed, the friends themselves lose the faux immunity of observers and the tragedy is relentless. It’s very difficult to appraise The War Show critically, the very existence of which is testament to the bravery of the directors and her collaborators. Suffice to say then that this is an urgent and necessary witness to the humanitarian tragedy of our times and which is all too often viewed only through the Eurocentric lens of the ‘problem’ of refugees.”



Jay Weissberg på VARIETY beskriver interessant filmens konstruktion: “… Zytoon, in voiceover throughout, introduces us to her friends, all enthusiastically embracing the revolution afoot. There’s besotted poet Hisham and his love, law student Lulu; rebel drummer Rabea; young activist Amal; dental student Argha; and Houssam, an architecture student whose beautifully infectious smile and gentle eyes will haunt the viewer for a long, long while. The two directors include just enough footage of these people to make them real, not just activists but friends. Even during the initial crackdowns by the regime they maintain their determination, with still a remnant of euphoria.

But the suppression grows in intensity, protest marches become funerals, and their understanding of how to resist becomes splintered, even in their own minds. By late 2011, the propaganda war was already trafficking in untruths, and Zytoon takes her camera to other cities, from her hometown of Zabadani, to Homs, Qassab, Saraqeb, and Kafranbel. As the conflict becomes more entrenched, she dodges snipers in streets reduced to rubble, and films little boys proudly holding semi-automatics as large as themselves.”

… og kommer med denne vurdering af Zyoons og Dalsgaards arbejde: “… Also addressed, toward the end, are the rifts between various rebel factions, humorously conveyed when a boy confusedly changes his enthusiastic chant for a civil society with one he overhears supporting a caliphate. This, like many other topics in the film, deserves a documentary of its own, but saying this doesn’t mean Zytoon and Dalsgaard treat their subjects superficially. On the contrary, “The War Show” captures the scope of the tragedy while making the participants real — unlike the largely anonymous victims seen on news reports, here Zytoon and her friends project a humanity that carries over even into the unnamed men revealing their torture scars for the camera.”



Boyd van Hoeij fra THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER beskriver filmen tilsvarende omhyggeligt og endnu mere interesseret detaljeret, men konkluderer alligevel sin anmeldelse noget køligt: ”… The overall result is somewhat messy but contains some very powerful moments and valuable insights into what the conflict is like for those on the ground and what drives the younger generation to fight against the oppression of Assad. Colin Stetson’s jangly score amps up the tension at several points but thankfully never indulges in action-movie clichés.”



Sarah Ward, SCREEN DAILY skriver: “… Accordingly, The War Show marries the on-the-street immediacy of Silvered Water Syria Self Portrait with the more domestic focus of A Syrian Love Story, once again laying bare a conflict that has been recounted before yet never proves any less shocking. Such an effective, unsettling contrast of the broad and the intimate makes the film a galvanising choice to open Venice Days, as well one that won’t quickly be forgotten. Expect audiences to be similarly jolted when the powerful documentary screens in Toronto, and for further festival play to follow.”


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Allan Berg Nielsen
Allan Berg Nielsen

Allan Berg Nielsen started the first documentary cinema in Randers, Denmark way back in the 1970’es. He did so at the museum, where he was employed. He got the (16mm) films from the collection of the National Film Board of Denmark (Statens Filmcentral). He organised a film festival in his home city, became a member of the Board of Directors of the Film Board, started to write about films in diverse magazines, were a juror at several festivals and wrote television critiques in the local newspaper. From 1998-2003 Allan Berg was documentary film consultant (commissioning editor) at The Danish Film Institute, a continuation of the Film Board. Since then free lance consultant in documentary matters.


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