Bravo Dox Box, was the shout from the last row of a full cinema on the opening night of the festival. And ”Shout” was the title of the opening film, from the Netherlands, directed by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Ester Gould, who were more than happy to have the world premiere of the film in Damascus, one of the locations of a film that literally starts with people shouting from one side of Golan Heights to the other. From the occupied mountain territory in Israel to the mountain area in Syria – on both sides members of Palestinian families gather and try to communicate through loudspeakers. In many cases the families have not seen each other for 40 years!
The film focuses on two young men, Golanis they are called, who go to study in Damascus. One is Ezat and the other Bayan, and both have used the opportunity that you once per year can cross the border. The filmmakers have followed them for a year and go back with them for the summer holidays. Not a big film, but in several sequences the camera catches beautifully situations that reflect the absurdity and tragedy of the world we live in. Ezat’s father lives in Israel with no passport as he has refused Israeli citizenship. His grandfather lives in Damascus, quite old and ill, but a hero in Syrian eyes, greeted as such by the Asad, the late president. Ezat studies theatre in Damascus and decides to go back (Bayan stays in the occupied territories) after the holidays. The tone is light among the two, the emotions come in when they are with their families.
Holland, 54 mins., 2010