Screening of short films from the Syria Mobile Film Festival

  • Screening of short films from the Syria Mobile Film Festival

    Still from the movie, "Fourth Floor", dir. Majd Al-Hamwi, Lawand Zaza, 2016

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw invites the public to a screening of short films, followed by a meeting with the directors led by Jakub Majmurek.

Fourth Floor, directed by Majd Al-Hamwi and Lawand Zaza, 2016, 27′ 28″
The film addresses Syrians trying to reach Europe. Some of their journeys end successfully while others lead to tragedy. The film tells the story of Syrians finding asylum in Denmark and learning the local customs there, language and lifestyle, while trying to maintain contact with their family and relatives remaining in Syria.

The Boot, directed by Waw Al Wasel, 6′ 40″
The Boot by Waw Al Wasel is a music video remixing images of violence and media reports on the armed conflict in Syria to the rhythm of Björk’s hit “Crystalline.” The music for the film is by Omar Souleyman. All film materials are taken from the internet.

News Dreamers, directed by Ziad Adwan, 4′ 49″
The film tells of Syrians’ dreams starting in 2011, when the country was swept by protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The world of dreams is linked here with the bizarre, nightmarish reality experienced by Syrians. The images are taken from YouTube.

Uncle Abdullah, directed by Hmoud Jneid, 6′ 24″
Uncle Abdullah is a short documentary film about an old man living in Kafranbel in northern Syria. Every day he leaves his home and sits under a tree outside the village and waits for the village to be bombarded. When he hears the roar of military planes, he ducks into a nearby cave. This goes on for about two years. These escapes alter the protagonist’s daily life.

For Whom the Bells Toll, anonymous, 5′ 12″
A short documentary filmed during the official commemoration of fallen soldiers of the National Defence Forces in Damascus, Syria, in 2013. The title is taken from Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel on the motif of death in the Spanish Civil War. When the protagonist Robert Jordan receives an order to blow up a bridge, he realizes that it will cost lives. The leaders of the republican guerrilla units, Pablo and El Sordo, also know that Jordan is certain to be killed. Most of the characters are absorbed with thoughts of their own death.

The novel explores political ideology and the nature of fanaticism. Realizing what the catchphrase “enemy of the people” is used for, Jordan observes, “To be bigoted you have to be absolutely sure that you are right.”
The filmmaker wishes to remain anonymous.

Barbed Wire, directed by Aktham Alwany, 4′ 44″
“I just wanted to be like other people. I didn’t know that I would make myself into a criminal.” These words sum up the everyday suffering of thousands of Syrians who illegally reached Turkish territory, fleeing war in their own country.
The treacherous trail is presented to the sounds of sad folk songs. Smugglers use their cars to carry people who can no longer stand the murderous atmosphere reigning in their homes and country.

Here Is Holland, directed by Lawand Zaza and Majd Hamwi, 10′ 34″
Film shot in Beirut and the Netherlands. Lawand is a young Syrian who has decided on an illegal journey to the Netherlands, where he is placed in a refugee centre, sharing a room with another young man from Syria, Adel.

Lawand Zaza received his BA from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, Department of Scenography, in 2013. He started his career as a scenographer with several interactive theatre projects, and was assistant set designer for many theatre performances. In 2014 he co-directed with Majd al Hamwi the three short films "Hollanda hon" ("Holland here"), which earned them the Audience Award and the award as best experimental documentary at the Syria Mobile Phone Film Festival, "4th Floor" and "Cage". He currently works as a cameraman at a local television station in Groningen, Netherlands, and as a filmmaker doing experimental and documentary films about Syria.

Ziad Adwan earned an MA in text and performance studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King’s College London, and then took a PhD in theatre studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, with a thesis on “Mistakes and Making Mistakes in Cultural Representations.” Ziad’s work comprises acting, directing and writing for theatre, as well as academic works. He taught at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, Syria, in 2009–2013.

Ziad is currently based in Germany and affiliated with the Global Theatre Histories Research Project, Developing Theatre (Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945) at LMU Munich, and publishes articles in several academic journals. Ziad is a consultant at Mamdouh Adwan Publishing House. He co-founded the Tanween Company for Theatre and Dance with his partner, choreographer Mey Seifan, and has been producing theatre and performance projects in Germany.

Jakub Majmurek is a film scholar, essayist and commentator. Active as a film critic, he also writes about literature and the visual arts. A graduate of film studies in Kraków and the Institute of Political and International Studies at Jagiellonian University, he also studied social sciences at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. He publishes in Tygodnik Powszechny, Gazeta Wyborcza,, Aspen Review, and other titles. He is the co-author or editor of numerous film books, including recently Kino-sztuka with Łukasz Ronduda.

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