The Return to Homs

Synopsis: Filmed over 3 years in Homs,accompanying 2 outstanding young men from the time they were only dreaming of freedom to the time when they are forced to change course. Basset, the 19yo national football team goalkeeper, who became an outspoken demonstration leader in the city, then an icon revolution singer, till he becomes a fighter... a militia leader. Ossama, his 24yo friend, renowned citizen journalist, cynical pacifist... as his views are forced to change, until he is detained by army secret service. It is the story of a city, of which the world have heard a lot, but never really got closer than news, never really had the chance to experience how a war erupted. a modern times epic of youth in war time.
Director(s): Talal Derki
Production: Gathr Films
  6 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

I hugged all of them.

We kissed each other.

At the gates of city

we bid each other adieu.

Before that, there was a part of

the conversation that I don't remember.

I don't remember certain details,

or colors...

The city I used to pass by on my 'nave!

route to my old house 'm Damascus.

Not once did I think about going into Homs.

The city which has become

the most precious thing I have.

Nothing can compensate this toss.

I cannot make judgments.

Did we do the right thing?

I take one last look at the place.

I may not pass by there again...

and if I do, it is going to be lonelier

without my loved ones.


Stay by my side!

Hold me again for as long as you can.

Homs, the audacious...

Leave us be, it's what we need.

We're the grandchildren of Khaled.

Leave us be, it's what we need.

We're the grandchildren of Khaled.

Leave! Leave! Leave!

Evening protest on

Stadium street, Homs.

The army's hearts are dead.

The honor in them is dead.

Why is it killing us? Army and people

are supposed to be brothers.

It is your choice, soldier,

to kill or to heal...

It is your choice, soldier,

to kill or to heal...

The age of oppression will end,

The people shall overcome.

Look, they've recorded all your songs!

A bit of time is left for me

to tell parts of the story...

Our previous dreams are behind us now...

Nb; first visit to Homs in 2011

working with Ossama and Abou Adrian

as a media activist...

At days when no media was aimed

to cover the events 'm Syria.

Homs, Al-Hamra neighborhood.

The regime fires tear-gas on protesters.

August 1st, 2011.

This guy is our friend.

His name is Adnan Abdul-Dayem.

He's holding a placard that says:


We can see that some of the other

protestors were throwing rocks...

whereas he did not.

He chanted:

in front of security forces.

We lost him on that very night.

I was named 2nd best young

goalkeeper in Asia.

I played in the Syrian National Youth

team and for Karama FC.

When I first joined the sit-in.

Regime deployed snipers around.

I couldn't stay sitting down.

I told my friends: Hold me up.

I took off my shirt and chanted "Listen up

sniper, here's my neck, here's my head".

Abdul-Basset, may God protect you.

Homs, the audacious!

Buman Ghalioun, aren't you listening?

The people want a no-fly zone.

Heroes of Khalediya and Bayada

"Martyrdom and Victory".

Bashar kills his own people

to keep his seat.

Shame on him! Shame on him!

Victory, o Homs!

Damn your soul, damn your soul o Hafa!

Basset, we love you Basset,

Basset we love you.

People want to live in dignity and freedom.

The mayor was corrupt, they demanded

his dismissal and he was dismissed.

But the regime suppressed them

so they wanted to topple it!

We didn't demand

toppling the regime at first.

It was what we learned that changed us.

Maybe older generations already knew

the regime better. Our generation didn't.

Bilal, when you die I'll post

this photo on your tribute page.

Will call it:

"We are all as lame as Bilal".

One is shot at, then scandalized!

The Army continued its campaign

to take over Al Rastan...

This is "Al Assad Military Hospital".

We were there to pick up

our dead friend's body.

Look at the hospital's torture room!

This guy is dead.

You call this dead? Look. He's been

mutilated beyond recognition.

Look, they interrogate people here.

I was the only one who entered,

hence, I can't publish this video.

They're such morons. I had my

phone camera on and I was recording...

pretending that I was talking:

"Hey, how are you? We're coming soon"...

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Talal Derki

Talal Derki (Arabic: طلال ديركي ; born 24 July 1977 in Damascus, Syria of Kurdish descent) is a director, producer and screenwriter. Talal Derki studied film directing in Athens at Stavrako High Institute of Cinematographic Art and Television, graduation in 2003. He worked as an assistant director for feature film productions and was a director for different Arab TV programs & TV films between 2009 and 2012. He worked as a freelance cameraman for CNN and Thomson Reuters. Talal Derki’s short films and documentaries received awards at a variety of festivals. His feature documentary RETURN TO HOMS has won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Grand Jury Prize. In 2014 he was a member of the international Jury at IDFA. Talal Derki lives now in Exile in Berlin, Germany. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Return to Homs" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Nov. 2020. <>.

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