From My Syrian Room
FRANCE, GERMANY, SYRIA, QATAR / 2014 / Arabic / Color / Blu-ray / 70 min
Director: Hazem Al-Hamwi
Photography: Hazem Al-Hamwi, Ghassan K.
Editing: Florence Jacquet
Producer: Nathalie Combe
Source: Deckert Distribution
As he looks back on the repressive environment of his childhood years, the director, a painter, gives a voice to those silenced by authoritarian rule. This includes his father, a reporter for a Ba’ath Party publication who lost his job for going against the wishes of those in power; his great uncle, who spent long years in jail as a political prisoner; and a young child who died while in police custody, for painting anti-government graffiti. The director’s dismay at and criticism of his homeland, torn apart by civil war, is conveyed with poignant poeticism.
[Director’s Statement] How can one become a free and responsible person after being educated to remain a little soldier of Assad’s Regime? How can one proceed towards life, discarding the fear deeply rooted in every Syrian child since their first days on earth? Myself a Syrian painter and filmmaker, I tried to understand though sharing memories with friends and opponents of the dictatorship how Syrians endure such distress and anxiety beginning in childhood. In the process, I learned the importance of my drawing obsession in always helping me to stick to life and to maintain my human dignity in such a harsh country.
Hazem Al-Hamwi was born in 1980, and has a background in painting and theater. In 2003, his love story with the camera began. He has made three documentaries and five experimental films, and his movies have been featured in several international film festivals. His filmography includes The Right Side of the Road (2004), Stone Bird (2006) and Moaning (2011), awarded best documentary prize by the Dubai Cultural Magazine Awards. From My Syrian Room won second prize at the One World Film Awards in Cologne in 2015.