A Stranger Came to Town

A documentary about the complex reality and representation of the conflict in Aleppo, Syria



Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen, Gijs Kerbosch, Roel Oude Nijhuis, Gijs Determeijer


Complex realities can never be reduced to simple stories of good and evil. Certainly not in the case of the Syria-conflict. Interviews with four inhabitants of Aleppo form the backbone of this cinematic essay, each share their personal experiences.

Nahel organised one of the first underground protests in Syria’s economic capital. Ahmed joined the rebel Free Syrian Army when he fled for military service in Assad’s army. Ferhad flees to Europe and experiences a dormant post traumatic stress disorder as he deals with the aftermath of the war. As Nahel, Ahmed and Ferhad escape the country, one interviewee stays behind in Aleppo. Issa sees the development of the conflict from his very own apartment. Finding himself confronted with the militias ghting in his street, he has a critical view of the rebels – initially a cause célèbre in Western media.

‘A Stranger Came to Town’ is a comment on discourse and representation rather than a political statement. Its emphasises on meta-thinking and discourses challenges the audience to question terms such as ‘freedom fighter’.

A film by HALAL docs in coproduction with HUMAN. With the support of Mediafund and CoBO.