This is In Damascus (في دمشق), a stunningly beautiful film by the Syrian filmmaker and motion graphic designer Waref Abu Quba. Here’s the description from Vimeo:
Winner | Outstanding Cinematography in the Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Somerset, Kentucky USA 2015.
• ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin – 2016
• Arab Film Festival, San Francisco, CA – 2016
• 9th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival – 2015
• Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Somerset, Kentucky USA – 2015
Watch In Damascus VFX Breakdown and read the description for technical Information about the film on this link.
This film is about Damascus, an 11,000 years old city, the most ancient & precious of cities, set to the poetry of the world famous Palestinian poet / author Mahmoud Darwish.
More than three years have passed since the idea inception up to this moment. This project was my companion during my staying abroad, it was like a friend and an enemy at the same time, sometimes I spend hours working on it, and sometimes I leave it for months.
Now after two months of heavy work, I’ve finished it, and I would like to present it to you … I hope you like it.
Be sure to watch it on the largest screen you have.
Egyptian student-filmmaker Nissmah Rosdhy’s animation of a section of a Mahmoud Darwish poem of the same title is the winner of the 2014 ZEBRA Prize for the Best Poetry Film. (Though the jury members announced from the stage that they regarded all four of the films they picked for prizes this year as equal winners, the prize sponsored by Literaturwerkstatt Berlin itself was still treated as the first among equals. And having watched all 29 competition films, I wouldn’t argue with that.)
Erica Goss and I met with Nissmah Roshdy the day after the awards ceremony and recorded a twenty-minute interview with her — go watch. The important thing to mention here is that the live recitation with music by the band Le Trio Joubran sparked the film; it’s much more than just a soundtrack. Combine that with a killer animation of Arabic typography and rotoscoped dance moves by the animator herself, and you’ve got an innovative, probably ground-breaking work. Congrats to Roshdy and a tip of the hat to the jury for their inspired selections. (Look for more of those here in the coming days, interspersed with other films from the festival.)
The film is an illustration of a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, who focuses on the tragic side of the human personality of a martyr.
It is a visual journey that combines the public experience and the personal one and follows a couple separated by a death called “heroic”.
It is a tribute to Arabic poetry through the combination of the cinematography and music with the music within the poem.
I guess I betray my fondness for minimalism by posting this very spare, not terribly illuminating trailer for “A film by Ahmad Natche … shot in Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) in the Summer of 2009, inspired by a Mahmoud Darwish poem.” Here’s the film’s website.