Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘5 Seasons of Revolution’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2023, Movies by - April 27, 2023
Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘5 Seasons of Revolution’

Lina, the pseudonym of a Syrian filmmaker, comes out with her documentary 5 Seasons of Revolution. There are a lot of things in this documentary about the early years of the ongoing civil war in Syria. Among them are pictures of what looks like ghost cities all over the country, an emptiness that exists for unexpected reasons. Also an activist, she and a handful of friends organized a nationwide strike to protest president Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The pictures are a sign of the strike working in most cities except for Damascus. Seeing a lively Damascus is a sign that they need to do more.

Lina divides 5 Seasons into, well, five chapters. In covering these stages of the conflict, Lina goes to cities like Aleppo and Homs. But much of the documentary also her and her friends doing a lot of organizing or watching the news as the international world decides on their fate. Western viewers think of this conflict, as well as many others, as a powder keg where one small event starts bigger ones. But she subverts this by showing how both everything and nothing is happening. For the most part, she matches her pacing with her perspective of the events.

5 Seasons begins as Lina introduces her friends but it feels like they’re few and far between in this documentary. It also is probably not a good look for me to tone police a Syrian journalist but her narration needs a few tweaks. But again, despite this being her first feature, she uses her perspective to her advantage. Her lack of resources and skills in some areas also doesn’t hinder her. She capturing the haunting sights and sounds of the conflict when the conflict gets going. Seeing Syrian prisoners reluctantly praise Assad will stick with viewers for a while.

  • Release Date: 4/28/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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