During the ongoing war in Syria, the city of Aleppo is continually besieged, as the government of Bashar al-Assad carry out repeated air strikes on civilian areas. In response, the Syrian Civil Defense form the White Helmets, a volunteer group of men who drive to bombed buildings in order to pull out survivors. Khaled and Mahmoud carry out their work with sinking spirits, but also an unflagging energy and pride in their city.
With astounding camerawork and devastating images, this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner places its audience right alongside the brave, resolute men who risk their lives amid the rubble and ruins of their country. Filmed over one year, and bringing home the utter horror of daily life there, a grim portrait of hopelessness emerges, as we follow these rescuers who are fearful for their families but have nowhere else to go. Haunting and gut-wrenching, this Oscar-nominated work is, tragically, still topical.