The first image that appears on screen is that of a boy mimicking the overflight of planes. He then pretends to be armed and searching for a village, throwing hand grenades and raking a target with bursts from a machine gun. Deaf and mute, 13-year-old Mohammed escaped from Kobani, in northern Syria, shortly after Islamic State fighters seized it in January 2015.
In the short video by Erkan Ozgen, a Turkish-Kurdish artist from Diyarbakir, Mohammed uses his body to express the violence he has witnessed. When he concludes his on-screen narrative with a swift hand movement that indicates a decapitation, a half-suppressed scream arose in the darkened room where a dozen people breathlessly watched. As the audience got up to leave, one young man remarked, “Perhaps a good neighbor is simply one who doesn't kill you.”