7.4/10
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65 user 1 critic

Salam Neighbor (2015)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Adventure, Drama | 20 June 2015 (USA)
Two filmmakers fully embed themselves in a Syrian refugee camp, providing an intimate look at the world's most dire humanitarian crisis.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Zach Ingrasci Zach Ingrasci ... Zach Ingrasci
Chris Temple ... Chris Temple
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Storyline

Two Americans deliberately head to the edge of war, just seven miles from the Syrian border, to live among 80,000 uprooted refugees in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp. As the first filmmakers allowed by the United Nations to register and set-up a tent inside a refugee camp, Zach and Chris plunge into the heart of the world's most pressing humanitarian crisis. From meeting Um Ali, a woman struggling to overcome personal loss and cultural barriers, to the street smart, 10-year-old Raouf, whose trauma hides just beneath his ever present smile, Zach and Chris uncover inspiring stories of individuals rallying, against all odds, to rebuild their lives and those of their neighbors. Written by Anonymous

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Jordan | Syria

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

20 June 2015 (USA) See more »

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Color:

Color
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Trivia

Salam is an Arabic word used to say hello and it means Peace. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Playing Refugee
26 April 2018 | by vanillabean349See all my reviews

I sincerely have mixed feelings about this documentary. On one hand, I appreciate the effort that these film makers have put in to revealing what life is like in a refugee camp, and telling the stories of the people who live there. However, I still have some major issues with the way in which they have gone about this project. At the beginning of the film, I was very interested in the idea that Zach and Chris would be experiencing life in Za'atari just as others in the camp do. I was disappointed when they began to explain that they would have a camera crew and a translator with them instead. From this point forward, it seemed like they were merely experiencing 'Za'atari lite', the refugee camp without the hardship and danger that goes along with it. In this way, some of the procedures they went through to register officially as residents in the camp became almost trivial. While Zach and Chris had all of their documents and IDs, often times people who have been forced to flee the fighting in Syria and elsewhere may not have these documents to present. They also received a tent, mattresses, food and other supplies from the UNHCR like any other refugees, but the crew also had other supplies packed for the trip which allowed them to be more comfortable than others in the camp. Even still, they were not allowed to stay in the camp at night due to the danger of being robbed or harmed. What about the people who don't have the choice to leave? Rather than experiencing the bitter cold of a desert at night, the crew was able to sleep in an office building in a nearby city. I can accept that it would be much more difficult to produce such a high quality documentary if they were to truly embrace the lifestyle that many in these camps have to lead, but I believe that they could have done more, like learning Arabic to interact with people in the camp in a more authentic way instead of using a translator, or learning more about cultural intricacies and manners before plunging themselves into the unfamiliar environment. Criticism of their 'American tourist' behavior is warranted. Despite my many reservations, I still believe that this film deserves some credit. After watching the documentary, I cannot deny that I was touched by its humanization of people within the camp and efforts to familiarize the viewer with the support efforts that these camps have been working toward. The people they chose to portray helped this image of innocence and relatability, (which is somewhat problematic in itself), but it allowed for the viewer to empathize. A documentary like this one can draw out support for organizations like the UNHCR and others, and it did just that. However, in its pursuit to tell the truth, it told half.


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