Since 2013, 130 White Helmets have lost their lives. In that same span, they’ve saved over 58,000 lives.
That’s how The White Helmets, a documentary about a group of voluntary first responders who rescue victims from the constant bombing attacks in Syria, ends. The story told before that is why it won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary – Short Subject. It’s only 40 minutes long, and again, it won the goddamn Oscar, so you don’t need me to recommend it to you, but it’s such an incredibly important achievement that I want to recommend it anyway. It’s one of the most emotional documentaries I’ve ever watched, and it’s shot so claustrophobically that it’s impossible not to let if affect you. Syria is being absolutely torn apart by war and bombing, and it’s unfortunately very easy for someone like myself to not pay attention and pretend it’s not happening. What this documentary does is force you to pay attention, but instead of placing blame (and there is plenty to go around) it focuses on the White Helmets – former tailors, blacksmiths, builders, and shines the brightest light possible on them. It’s infuriating to watch, because of how senseless the entire thing is, but it’s also necessary viewing. The White Helmets is currently available on Netflix.