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Damascus, My First Kiss

Documentary Film
42 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lina Al Abed, SakaDo Productions
Lina Al Abed
Wael al Kak
Joud Gorani
Andrijana Stojkovic, Rami Nihawi
Lina al Abed
Ghanem Al Mir
In her third documentary the Palestinian-Jordanian filmmaker Lina Alabed once more addresses the role of women in the Arab world. The location is Damascus, Syria. The revolt against Assad’s regime hasn’t started yet. But there is tension in the air and the question of the limitations set for women by a male-dominated society must necessarily lead to the question of freedom. Three women talk about their relationship to their bodies and sexuality, about the pressures of tradition and feelings of guilt. Asma, a Muslim woman who was married at 16 when she had no idea what marriage means; Lina, the daughter of a wealthy Christian family, who regrets that she doesn’t know her body yet at the age of 45; at last the director herself and her very personal off-screen comments which forge the voices of this film into a single narrative. It’s surprising how frankly Asma and Lina describe their lives, surprising to the protagonists themselves. In a wonderful scene – Asma has just described how stroking her daughter in her arms was criticised as designed to incite sexual arousal – she looks into the distance, lost in thought. Then she turns her head towards the camera and says: Where are you taking me? So how can conditions be changed? Lina and Asma have freed their daughters from social pressure by allowing them to make their own life decisions, cutting a swath through the petrified social conditions at whose end the director envisions the freedom of humanity, independent of sex.
– Matthias Heeder

Tournesols - Al Rastan

Documentary Film
25 minutes
Al Rastan, Syria, August 2011. Neither the Ottoman Empire nor the French occupation nor any feudal lord over the course of millennia could have done to this city what its own army managed in a day.
It’s been more than a year now, but the annihilation of this city is still a symbol of what is happening in and with Syria at the moment.
Rough, shaky images take us into destroyed houses. A coat fluttering in the wind made Assad’s army assume there was a sniper behind the window and shell a whole house to pieces. Soldiers openly professing themselves to be deserters, moved by the massacre in their hometown to finally join the Free Syrian Army. Women mourning their dead children and helplessly crying over ruined washing machines.
“What’s the use of an army who shoot their own citizens and protect only the president?” “How can a whole city suddenly be populated only by terrorists, Western agents, criminals and armed gangs?” Mangy cats looking for food. So many questions and no answer in sight.
– Lina Dinkla