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9th DMZ Docs(2017)

I AM DOCU



Taste of Cement

Ziad Kalthoum

  • Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates
  • 2017
  • 85min
  • DCP
  • color

Korean Premiere

Synopsis

In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 7p.m. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life.

Review

The film is a poetic documentary on the present life of the Syrian worker on a construction site in Beirut, Lebanon. It is not dealing with the private story of a specific person, but just observing, with various angles, a miserable condition of anonymous Syrian workers, who have been stuck inside the dizzying views of skyscraper construction sites facing the Mediterranean. And their unrealistic narration, that seems to be heard from blurred borderline between the reality and the fiction, represents the mind of which the workers left their hometowns. "The taste of cement is eating my mind. The smell of death. I ran away into the void, Suddenly I found myself buried in”. A curfew has been imposed on the Syrian workers after seven in the evening, and the accommodation for them is in the basement of the construction site. It is the small televisions and cell phones that are their sole means of communicating with the outside world. They can learn through the media only the news that their hometowns are being totally destroyed in the war. The film has full of symbolism and metaphor, contrasting the two different properties of the wet cement, construction material of the skyscraper, and the concrete cement that could collapse and kill people in the blast.

The film has attracted the audience with the various audiovisual elements: the accurate framing without a slight mistake of the camera movement, the vertiginous height of tower crane and the images of human in distress, the music that sounds like the ambience and the sound designed intensively and minutely. This sad and beautiful documentary was opened to the public and won the best feature film at Visions du Réel in 2017. [Han Sun-hee]​

Director

  • Ziad Kalthoum

    Oh, My Heart (2011)The Immortal Sergeant (2013)​ 

Credit

  • ProducerAnsgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert
  • Cinematography Talal Khoury
  • Editor Alex Bakri, Frank Brummundt

Contribution & World Sales

Contribution & World Sales  Jasmina Vignjevic

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