DOXBOX Damascus Diary 2

Full house for the film of Omar Amiralay from 1982, ”The Misfortune of Some”, produced for the French channel Antenne 2, during the Lebanese war. Amiralay is the Syrian documentary filmmaker, his films have been shown all over the world, he is the role model for the young Syrian filmmakers and now also active at the Arab Film Institute, the film school in Amman.

I am told that 5 of his films are banned in Syria and that he was not allowed by the authorities to introduce or discuss the film that I saw – even if he was there in the hall to support the organisers of the festival by his mere presence. Respect! The film is first of all a portrait of total turmoil, the French (sub)title being ”Un homme dans la tourmente”. This man is a charismatic and extremely funny round figure, who is a taxi driver and turns into a kind of undertaker during the film and the events it is covering.

We get to learn about his relationship to women and about many other common daily issues in the world. We see the bombed Beirut, and stylistical breaks to this main character, among other things there is a scene with a group of people (a big family?) that watch television. Underlined with a sound score that gives the absurdity of it all.

A discovery for me, and Arab neo-classic, would like another view with someone giving me some background of historical nature. … and then a revisit to Werner Herzog with ”Lessons of Darkness”, what a masterpiece. More about the festival, already now a success in terms of audience:

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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