Taste of Cement, Ziad Kalthoum, Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, 2017, 85′
Documentary Feature, o.v. Arabic, subtitles Italian
May 1st, 2018, 9 pm, Ridotto del Teatro Comunale di Vicenza
In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 7p.m. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers’ right, they keep hoping for a different life.
Ziad Kalthoum is a Syrian filmmaker currently living in Berlin. He was born in Homs in 1981 and holds a degree in film studies. In his first documentary Oh My Heart (2009) – banned from screening in Syria due to political reasons – he portrayed a group of Kurdish women who have chosen to live in a society without men. In 2012, during the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, he began working on his first feature film The immortal Sergeant while serving a compulsory military service. After its premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2014, in 2015 he won the BBC Arabic Festival in the ‘Best Feature Documentary’ category. After deserting the Syrian Army in 2013, he fled to Beirut where he started to work on Taste of Cement. The film has been travelling to festivals around the world and has received various awards, among them Visions du Réel in 2017.
Director Ziad Kalthoum
Screenplay Ziad Kalthoum, Talal Khoury, Ansgar Frerich
Cinematography Talal Khoury
Sound Rayan Al Obeydine, Makram Al Halabi, Rawad Hobeika, Cedric Kayem, Carine Bacha
Editing Alex Bakri, Frank Brummundt
Sound Editing Ansgar Frerich, Florian Holzner
Music Sebastian Tesch
Production Bidayyat for Audiovisual Art, BASIS BERLIN Filmproduktion
Distribution Syndicado Film Sales
Festival (selection) Visions du Réel (Best Feature), Mediterranean Film Festival (Grand Prix for the Best Feature Documentary), Open City Documentary Festival in London (The Emerging International Filmmaker Award), Camden International Film Festival (Best Documentary Feature), Doc Alliance Selection Award, Frontdoc (Jury Prize), L’Alternativa, Festival de Cine Independiente de Barcelona (Don Quixote Prize for Best Feature Film, Special Mention in the Official Feature Film Section), Dubai International Film Festival (Best Documentary Feature)
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