DOK Leipzig Film Festival

The War on My Phone

The War on My Phone

The towns of Ahrweiler and Idlib, Saarbrücken and Deir ez-Zor, Lausanne and Harim are connected and separated by mobile phone screens. As four refugees from Syria in European exile are sitting in a café, waiting on the platform for the next train or chugging across the idyllic Lake Geneva on a boat, they are communicating by phone with family members, friends and fellow activists in the war zone. They become eyewitnesses of the bombing of their hometown, skype with unlawfully detained prisoners who are gradually losing courage, get desperate text messages about yet another failed escape or view Islamist propaganda videos as part of their intelligence work. “Only a small part of us is here in Germany,” media activist Zana, who fled from Aleppo, explains.

“The War on My Phone” shows the role played by mobile phones as an unofficial live news channel as well as the omnipresence of war in exile. Being torn between these almost incompatible realities is something that has to be borne. If for once the tomatoes on both sides of the screen are the same shade of red it’s a rare moment of shared experience.

Esther Buss

Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Original Title: The War on My Phone
Country: Germany
Year: 2018
Language: Arabic
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 90 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Elke Sasse
Producer: Holger Preuße, Kristian Kähler
Cinematographer: Jakob Stark, Melina Kenjami, Dieter Stürmer
Editor: Janine Dauterich
Sound: Pascal Capitolin
Music: Marcus Zahn

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.