Our Terrible Country

Muhammad Ali Atassi / Zaid Homsi

Syria, Lebanon 2014, 85 min.


Spoken language: Arabic

Subtitles: English

Dutch premiere

Festival year: 2015

Road movie about the friendship between Syrian writer and dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh and young photographer Ziad Homsi. On their way to Raqqa, home base of the IS terrorist organisation, they film their ‘terrible’ country, torn by war and terror.


As a young man, writer and human rights defender Yassin al-Haj Saleh is sentenced to sixteen years in prison for membership of a communist organisation. After his release, he remains critical about the Syrian regime. The civil war forces him to leave Damascus with his wife in 2013 and find shelter in Douma. There he meets photographer and filmmaker Ziad Homsi, who is twenty years younger. Homsi is keen to make a portrait of the writer and together they head towards Raqqa, where Al-Haj Saleh was born. An intimate friendship develops during the dangerous journey.

A personal account of the relationship between two generations. The film ruthlessly reveals the hope, doubts, disillusions and losses of two men and their ongoing struggle for justice in war-ridden Syria. The film was made possible with the support of Bidayyat, a not-for-profit organisation that helps develop Syrian films and provides training for filmmakers.