Film Archive

Jahr

From My Syrian Room

Documentary Film
France,
Germany,
Lebanon,
Syria
2014
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nathalie Combe, Heino Deckert, Georges Schoucair, Myriam Sassine, Hazem Alhamwi
Hazem Alhamwi
Sivan
Hazem Alhamwi, Ghassan Katlabi
Florence Jacquet
Hazem Alhamwi
Nuzha Al Nazer, Frédéric Maury
A feeling of oppression creeps in. Hazem Alhamwi’s nib scratches over a black and white sketch worthy of Hieronymus Bosch. Apocalyptic motives and mordant satire are his speciality and were his salvation. In a country like Syria, where everything, even breathing – as someone bitterly comments – was controlled, havens were needed. Art that resigns itself to being non-public, can be one. This film was made when the protests following the Arab Spring raised hopes that something might change: saying out loud at last what was suppressed and would have lead to long prison sentences for decades. The director talks to friends and relatives to find causes and origins, beginning with childhood experiences of propaganda and personality cults, adaptation and fear. Today, when events happen so fast, we are in the age of fast media. Alhamwi’s nuanced tones, associative motives and trips into the visual worlds of childhood have a hard time keeping up in a present in which Syria is crushed between religious and ethnic interests as well as those of foreign countries. The voices from Alhamwi’s room are echoes of a time when people demanded democratisation and freedom. The film records those short moments when the opposition tried to form and articulate itself. The time allotted to the idealists was very short.
Cornelia Klauß

Tiny Souls

Documentary Film
France,
Jordan,
Lebanon,
Qatar
2019
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dina Naser
Dina Naser
Ronald Heu
Dina Naser, Hasan Abu Hammad
Najwa Khachimi, Qutaiba Barhamji
Dina Naser
Antonin Dalmasso
They and all the others will continue to inspire life, Dina Naser writes at the end of her film about three children of war in Syria. They grow up in a refugee camp in Jordan: Marwa is the eldest, then there’s her sister Ayah and finally Mahmoud, the youngest. They have seven other siblings, but the family was torn apart when one brother in Syria no longer wanted to serve in the army and thus the dictator Assad. Marwa is the heroine of the film. She will soon be grown-up or at least considered almost of marriageable age by her parents. Her mother and father now make sure she doesn’t go out any more. But she already has a boyfriend.

Dina Naser follows the three children’s fate and everyday life over an extended period of time, starting in 2014. The filmmaker even hands the camera temporarily over to her protagonists – for the time when she can’t be with them. This can and should be compared to the situation of Palestinian refugees in 1948, among them Dina Naser’s father, whose experiences are referenced by the director. This opens up a larger context for this story which is profoundly and universally human but at the same time linked closely to the complicated Syria and Middle East conflict by its wealth of detail.

Bert Rebhandl