In the Beqaa valley, between Damascus and Beirut, some of Lebanon’s 1.2 million Syrian refugees live in a series of improvised camps. Many came to work as seasonal labourers, finding themselves stranded when their home cities were taken over by Isis.
Renowned filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich lived with the community in Majdal Anjar camp for a year and half, following the highs and lows of daily life: a lovelorn young man’s heart is broken when he faces the sharp disapproval of his elders; Maria, the schoolteacher, is caught between following her own goals and pressure from her father to return to Raqqa; Abu Hussain’s household is thrown into chaos when he marries a second wife.
Using his hallmark single shot technique, Helmrich’s fluid camera weaves through the lives of the people in the camp. He captures the hardship and the frustration, which can easily bubble over into aggression, but also resilience and hope as life goes on. With extraordinary intimacy, The Long Season reveals the real lives behind the statistics of a refugee crisis.