Dugma – The Button

Tires of the truck have been shielded with metal plates. The bumper is covered with a net and shielding. The back is loaded with explosives. Abu Qaswara is clearly proud to be able to present everything to the camera. He could very well be presenting any feature of any car.

Dugma: The Button is a documentary following the fighters of Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group that once belonged to al-Qaeda. Many of the fighters come from abroad; all of them wait for their chance at martyrdom. They are ready to kill and ready to die.

Norwegian director Paul Salahadin Refsdal succeeds in maintaining a neutral tone throughout his film. He presents the members of al-Qaeda as persons, as humans. We see Abu Qaswara praising the fried chicken of his favourite joint. Later he recollects the moments of happiness he felt at the wheel of an explosive truck. That particular suicide attack did not succeed.

Dugma: The Button doesn’t choke us with the standard view of absolute good and absolute evil. A war against the army of a tyrant is fought by people with mixed motives. Amongst them are these men, whose view of freedom would be tyranny to others.

Kaisu Tervonen / Translation Tuomo Karvonen

Languages: Arabic, English
Subtitles: English

  • Name in Original Language: Dugma – The Button
  • Director: Paul Salahadin Refsdal
  • Country: Norway
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 60 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Paul Salahadin Refsdal
  • Editing: Robert Stengård
  • Audio: Svenn Jakobsen
  • Production: Ingvil Giske/Medieoperatørene AS


  • Cinema Artis, hall 2: Saturday 28.01 - 21:00