"Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait" Film Screening

Save the date! The film screening will take place May 2, 2019.

Join the Pozen Center, 3CT, and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at a screening of Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014), a work by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Ossama Mohammed. Silvered Water has been featured at the Cannes and New York film festivals, as well as in Beirut, Istanbul, Tunisia, and various parts of Europe. The feature-length film is a study in the process of mourning and an avowal of cinema’s evolving revolutionary capacities.

Silvered Water, Syria Self Portrait is a devastating and highly important film that depicts the brutal reality of the Syrian Civil War as captured first-hand by both its victims and its perpetrators—or “1,001” ordinary Syrians. It is also a rare poetic work that powerfully expresses the humanity and perseverance of Syrians, as it explores the topography of their country torn by civil war that has left nearly 500,000 dead and 11,000,000 homeless. The film has been recognized by important institutions as perhaps the most artistically-accomplished documentary on the war to date. Syrian director Ossama Mohammed, who was forced into exile after speaking out against the Assad regime at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, began assembling online footage to bear witness to the atrocities inflicted by the regime, and to address the helplessness he felt in exile. Months later, a brave Kurdish woman Wiam Simav Bedirxan reached out to Mohammed with the question; “If your camera was here in Homs, what would you be filming?” Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait records their astonishing collaboration. Footage from Bedirxan’s smuggled camera, showing the devastation of a city under siege, is woven with images compiled and crafted by Mohammed, raw and visceral insights into life and death in civil war. The film gradually shifts from its shocking and disturbing undertone to form a highly reflective, and uniquely cinematic elegy. Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait is at once a landmark document of the Syrian Civil War, and an unforgettable testament to human courage and dignity.

[Text: Lisa Wedeen and the Prince Claus Fund Published in the 2015 Prince Claus Awards Book, an annual publication on the year’s laureates.]

This event is also cosponsored by the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.

About the Director: Born in Lattakiya in 1954, Ossama Mohammed graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in 1979. Mohammed’s bold films examine power, conflict and humanity. He has played a central role in Syria’s film and film production scene for several decades. Through diverse, innovative methods, from dramatic satire to, reflections from exile and street recordings, he creates unflinching, profound and poetic insights into the Syrian context. 

His first short documentary “.. Khutwa Khutwa” (Step by Step, 1978), a film that touched the secret of transformation poor innocent children into soldiers and stand-by killers. It was selected after 35 years to the official selection Berlin 2013.

Mohammed’s first fiction feature Nujum al-Nahar (Stars in Broad Daylight) was released in 1988. Deemed by many to be the most scathing critique of contemporary Syrian society trapped in the iron grip of the Baath regime, the film has never been allowed a public screening in Syria. The film was selected at the Cannes Film Festival's Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, and earned the filmmaker great critical praise, including the Golden palm at the Valencia Festival in the same year. 

Sunduq al-Dunya (Sacrifices, 2002), was selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s section Un Certain Regard in 2002. Complex and visually stunning, the film has confirmed its maker as one of the Soviet film school's graduates most individual and masterful filmmakers.

After 2011 in forced exile in Paris, he began a new cinematic adventure, “Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait.”