Syria

Mohamed Malas – Al-lail AKA The Night (1992)

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The Night or Al-Lail (Arabic: الليل‎) (The Night) is a Syrian feature drama film by director Mohamed Malas. The film explores the Arab-Israeli conflict as seen through the experiences of an Arab family in newly liberated city of Quneitra, headed by a resistance fighter. Al-Lail was the first Syrian feature to be played at the New York Film Festival on October 4, 1993. Read More »

Saeed Al Batal & Ghiath Ayoub – Still Recording (2018)

In 2011, Saeed and Milad decide to leave Damascus for Douma (in Eastern Ghouta) to take part in the Syrian revolution. Events move fast: Douma is liberated by the rebels, the revolutionary enthusiasm spreads among the young, then comes war, siege, famine… They filmed life in Douma for more than four years, from the initial euphoria to the distress and disenchantment that settled in over the years. Read More »

Ziad Kalthoum – Taste of Cement (2017)

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In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 7p.m. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life. Read More »

Omar Amiralay – A Flood in Baath Country aka Al Toufan (2005)

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A highly controversial and beautifully crafted film on Syria’s dictatorship.
Omar Amiralay’s film about the dictatorship in Syria highlights the devastating effects of 35 years of autocratic Baath party rule on society. Thirty-four years ago, Amiralay was an admirer of the modernisation of his country and even made his first short essay-like documentary in praise of the Baath party’s new-built Euphrates River Dam. Today however, Amiralay regrets the naivety of his youth. Read More »

Abdellatif Abdul-Hamid – Aayadina aka Our Hands (1982)

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This is a great little short from the back-catalogue of the 70s-80s Syrian art/experimental scene. It is a nine minute short about hands. Hands, and the things hands do. It’s handsomely edited to some hand-conducted orchestral music… Read More »

Ghannam Ghannam – Fatayat Haerat AKA Bewildered Girls (1981)

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Some university students change their views on sex after hearing a lecture on the blind Syrian philosopher Al-Maarri. He gets his way with one of them after sneaking what I imagine is rufees into one of their drinks which has disastrous consequences. After going to some wild bellydancing parties they are ensnared by a polyester-clad drug-dealer and womanizer/rapist. The victims’ friends plan to avenge her with the help of the local police. Includes numerous musical numbers and belly dancing scenes.
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