Every day hundreds of airstrikes batter down cities in Syria and when the bombs land, the White Helmets go into action. They are a group of volunteers who are first on the scene, pulling citizens from rubble and fostering aid. Founded in 2013, the group has saved more than 58,000 lives though, sadly, 130 rescue workers have been killed in the line of duty.
The group is nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize and are the subjects of a new documentary on Netflix called, yes, “The White Helmets.. The film is directed and produced by the same team that was behind the Oscar-nominated documentary “Virunga,” and some of the most compelling footage was taken by the White Helmets themselves. Slate says of the documentary, “chaotic and visceral, the footage of the aftermath of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s barrel bombings and Russian strikes is the antithesis of the clinical aerial footage that has dominated much of the coverage of the Syrian war. One memorable shot patiently tracks a bomb on its long descent from the plane that drops it to the ground.”
The director, Orlando von Einsiedel, explains that he wanted to tell story of the citizens of Syria and the horrifying effects of war. “What’s happening to people every day on the ground with hundreds of bombs being dropped on them by the Assad regime and its allies, that’s a story that seems to have faded from the headlines.”