Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

'Syrians in Wonderland': short film on war fantasies, dreams

Life & Arts | 2021-02-11 20:49:00
'Syrians in Wonderland': short film on war fantasies, dreams
“As long as the script remains not shot by a camera, the drawer becomes its coffin,” with these words, twin Syrian directors Mohamed and Ahmed Malas explained, turning their original idea of a feature film to the short film “Syrians in Wonderland”, due to production conditions. 

The documentary film addresses the dreams of Syrians in wartime in areas outside the control of the regime, in an aesthetic simulation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Ahmed Malas said that his movie has three main influences, Carroll’s dream worlds, a dream diary Ahmed and his brother had kept in Damascus and their own interpretation of the film “The Palestinian Dream” by director Mohamed Malas.

Muhammad Malas filmed part of the film when he was with his brother in the town of Maarat al Numan in northern Syria, where he filmed their previous feature films years ago.

“We hoped that what we filmed would be the ‘pilot’ for a longer film, but the difficult circumstances in Syria did not allow for that,” he explained. The idea was to film the dreams of Syrians the way they see them, which was not possible. So, they decided to release the material that had already been filmed as the short film.

Ahmed Malas and his brother said that they have several other projects on paper, which they discuss daily.

“Syrians in Wonderland” follows two plot lines, one focusing on the dreams and the other revolving around a little child facing a tank, as the lines between reality and fiction blur in Syria, as if the film is posing the question: Which of them is the dream.

“We started a revolution, while others launched a war on the revolution,” said Ahmed, pointing out that “Syrians in Wonderland” does not reflect his or his brother’s personal experiences as much as it expresses the view that dreams carry part of reality.

Regarding the difficulties and challenges that accompanied the journey to complete the film
Muhammad Malas said that most of the difficulties that accompanied their journey of making the film was related to logistical issue and their entry into Syria in light of the regime's bombing of Maarat al-Numan and at the beginning of Jabhat al-Nusra’s control over the town, who prevented them from carrying a camera into the city.

“Syrians in Wonderland” was screened in three film festivals around the world, the Kerry Festival in Ireland, the Human Rights Festival in Madrid, and the Indian International festival.

Zaman Al Wasl
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