Dir. Talal Derki, Basis Berlin Filmproduktion, Ventana Film, Cinema Group Production, Sudwestrundfunk, 99 min, 2017, Germany / Syria / Lebanon / (12+)

Director Talal Derki returns to his homeland of Syria to spend two years with a radical Islamist family. His camera focuses mainly on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into the raising of the next generation of Jihadists from a very early age. The story centres on Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12). Like their younger brothers, the two teens admire, love and obey their father, but while Osama enthusiastically prepares to follow his father’s path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. The film captures the time when the children must swiftly say good-bye to their childhoods.

In 2012, al Nusra was formed as the Syrian branch of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. In July 2016 it separated from al-Qaeda and united with other groups, which are now collectively known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The group is involved in the Syrian Civil War, fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s government. Currently government forces are in control of most of the Syrian territory, save for an autonomous region in the country’s northeast – The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, commonly known as Rojava.