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Still Recording (Lissa Am Tsajil)

New Voices in Cinema

/ Feature Documentary / Syria, Lebanon, France, Qatar / 2018
In Arabic / English subtitles
Rated: Mature subject matter. Not suitable for minors. Individuals under the age of 18 are not admitted into cinemas.

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Two young artists, Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub become embroiled in the events of the besieged city of Douma in this insider view of Syria’s civil uprising and its aftermath. Cameras in-hand and with over 500 hours of raw footage distilled down to an intense two hours—events move fast. The rebels liberate the city as the enthusiasm of revolution spreads among its youth, only to be followed by the tragedy of war, siege, and famine. As the initial euphoria gives way to disenchantment, the ever-present camera not only captures the grievous effects of the conflict, but also the everyday resilience and conviction of the city’s inhabitants.

Cinephiles at heart, the two intrepid filmmakers teach the art of cinematography to some of the locals, memorably quoting “The image is the last line of defence against time”. Using the Syrian War as its backdrop, it is a powerful reminder of the vital importance of making films as documentary evidence for history. ‘Still Recording’ is dedicated to all those who held a camera in the face of struggle, and tragically, the list of “those who lost their lives in the making of this film” is very long indeed.

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