Sat, March 31, 3:00pm
Films by Omar Amiralay
Three films by Omar Amiralay (1944–2011), Syria’s greatest documentary filmmaker, presented by Irina Leimbacher.
The program includes Tabaq el-Sardin (A Plate of Sardines, 1997), Amiralay's powerful reflection on personal and political memory; along with two of his earliest films, Film-Muhawalah ‘An Sadd al-Furat’ (Film-Essay on the Euphrates Dam, 1970) and al- Dajaj (The Chickens, 1977) - essays on the government’s failure to provide basic amenities to the poor. Amiralay’s new approach to documentary filmmaking gradually became recognized in the Arab world and Europe. His cinema has become canon for generations of documentary filmmakers in the Arab world.
"Speaking of the nation and its upheavals, it pains me to inform you that I live in a country steadfastly marching on its hooves to its own demise, after it was betrayed by its rulers, deserted by its brainpower and abandoned by its intellectuals, thinkers and artists [...] All my films were conceived out of a desire for a dialogue with life and people, wherein questions and doubts were raised, and characters and events reclaimed their history, resurrected from obsolescence, forgetting or denial." - from Were It Not for Cinema, an essay by Omar Amiralay
(Omar Amiralay, (1944 - 2011), 1970) 12 min
Amiralay’s first short film is an enthusiastic and lyrical depiction of the Ba’athist regime’s construction of the Assad dam on the Euphrates River. Its cinematic exuberance with regard to large-scale...