‘Silvered Water, Syria self-portrait’ is based on amateur footage from the siege of Homs.
Screened out-of-competition at the Cannes Festival, it is the only Arab language film in the event’s official selection.
Exiled Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed, who lives in Paris, compiled the movie using hundreds of YouTube videos shot on cell phones.
Euronews asked the director whether you can make a movie using just mobile phone footage.
“It’s a very interesting cinematographic question,” answered Mohammed. “What does it mean shaking the camera? Usually I don’t like this effect in cinema. Suddenly I discovered that this shaking cadre is not a fake, the man who is filming is shouting ‘Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!’,” he said.
The co-author of the film is young Kurdish documentary maker Wiam Simav Bedirxan, who returned to her family in the besieged city of Homs armed with a video camera.
“Syria is Simav, a metaphor of Syria. A brave, independent girl, and she was my Syria when I found her, when the film found her, I was following her,” Mohammed told euronews.
Bedirxan shot everything around her, the horror of war, the bombs, the snipers, the repression.
In particular, she followed in the footsteps of a young orphan named Omar.
“Little Omar, very brave, very smart, with a great big loss, just facing the world with questions and questions, admiring flowers, it’s an amazing way of resistance, trying to bring back his dead, his killed father by collecting flowers, creating dialogue with his dead father, two voices,” said Mohammed.
Simav Bedirxan and Ossama Mohammed met for the first time at the film’s premiere in Cannes, where they received a standing ovation.
Mohammed rejects any interpretation of the film as a call for military intervention, describing himself and Bedirxan as observers and witnesses struggling to capture the civil war on any kind of visual support that came to hand.