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‘Rain of Homs’: propaganda movie polishes Assad regime

(Zaman al-Wasl)- Syiran film maker Jude Saeed did not have to exert a great effort to add a realistic touch to the set locations for the film Rain of Homs as all the buildings and homes abandoned by the city’s people are destroyed and rubble fills the streets and alleys that until recently witnessed their steps. 

According to the director and its second and third-rate actors, the film aims to erase the effects of the war with “acid rain” and the claim that the city rebels are the killers and not the victims.

Not many people have seen the film, but the regime media outlets and channels broadcasted a trailer that showed how the film tries to entrench the one-sided version of what happened to Homs in the absence of its residents. The film relies on deliberately distort the facts in the manner of Najd Anzour, especially in the last films he was paid to do. 

The film tries to delude viewers that all the people from old Homs are ‘terrorists’, and yet the promotional trailer includes a clip of a man and two children running in search of shelter amidst the destruction as bombs and missiles rain down on them from every corner without revealing the source behind the shelling. 

In another scene in the trailer, a sniper, one of the armed factions, appears standing behind a niche in one of the destroyed houses, pointing the barrel of his machine gun at a child and a dog running behind her before he kills them both. 

In the next scene, a Christian clergyman raises his hand in the face of one of the “Sunni” snipers, who then shoots the clergyman hitting a cross that appears inscribed on the inside of his left arm “in a dirty insinuation to sectarianism.” 

There are scenes of gun tooting women who the regime claims are fighting alongside the city's rebels which is both a false and baseless claim. There is no video evidence from any of the thousands of videos that have been broadcasted online from the battles which show any women from Homs participating in the fighting during the period the film makers are supposedly referring to.  

There is a scene of a non-Sunni woman with a noose around her neck hanging behind several opposition fighters in Homs as they confront the regime's forces during their attempt to break into the old city. The depiction is fantastical and exists only in the imagination of the film's director. The film critic and journalist, Rashed Issa told Zaman al-Wasl that Saeed made his film Rain of Homs in the absence of the city’s people, or more precisely after their displacement and the destruction of their homes. According to Issa, the film is another massacre against homeowners who are the majority of the population of Homs.

Issa added that Saeed, “does hide but celebrates his support for the murderous regime in Syria, so he would obviously present the regime’s version of events, and monopolize the regime’s version of war or perhaps try to.” Issa said that Saeed’s managed to make his film with the support of the regime tanks and air force which created a decorative setting for his story, and so he would not try to go off script. 

He added, “It appears [that Saeed] today appears harmonious and integration as presents to the remaining city’s population while the city’s absent residents, they have their own stories and cinema which challenge the days and cannot be defied.”

Yamen Jaddoua, a Syrian playwright, pointed out that the film is an attempt to change the facts and to show that the militants besieged civilians and Christian clerics in the city and when the reserve is true.

Jaddoua told Zaman al-Wasl that in the end Saeed represents an authority that ignored the creativity of major filmmakers such as Khaldoun and Nabil Malih and Mohammed Malas, the maker of Peace to Damascus, the first film to represent Syrian reality. The film was produced secretly after the revolution, and prevented from being viewed in Syria. It is therefore normal for Saeed’s vision to align with the regime’s vision and its falsification of facts.

Jaddoua added that drama and cinema have become the memory of peoples and filmmakers are historians. He added that future generations may remember only the films and series that were made after the Syrian revolution.

“If pro-revolution production companies do not produce revolutionary films close to the truth, and immortalize the stories of the revolution, its massacres and the destruction, the only image the world will see after a while will be the ones the regime produced through its tools,” he added.

Jaddoua expressed his hope to see films that reflect and represent the tragic reality Syrians have experienced over the past seven years so that history is not stolen from us and from our pain.

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