14th DMZ Docs(2022)
I AM DOCU
Nearly 10 years after the beginning of the Syrian revolution, three Syrian activists reunite on a theatre stage in Paris. Through life-size projections, Syrian director Rami Farah confronts them with footage, some of it their own. Watching the brutal footage together, they reflect on their personal journeys and revive their collective memory, thereby creating a unique window into the complexity of the situation in Syria, where a peaceful uprising was replaced by a ferocious war.
Three Syrian revolutionists who went through Arab Revolution together stand on stage, watching the images of the revolution and sharing their memories. The passion and thrill that fill the streets of revolution bring the glow of joy to the faces on stage. However, soon, the memory of red blood visits those faces. The three people on the stage recognizes in the image four youths taking down the statue which symbolized the Syrian dictatorship and tells us that they had been shot down to be dead, sometime later. The images of gunshots, blood, and death are intensified. The images saved by those who risked their lives, the shared record, are brought to the stage along with the memories of the activists. The shared joy of those who long for revolution, their soaring rage at the sight of the deaths of their comrades, and their tears shed for a certain loss more feared than death. Their gestures to take turn stroking and putting arms around each other. It is when these affects are brought forth on stage that these records are rightfully placed within the framework of revolution and not within the civil war. The stage also reminds us that a performance of memory cannot take place by merely forming a believable impression of it; it can be shown in time itself, that is, the time that we love and long for the things that are believed to be gone.
RAMI FARAH is a Syrian dancer, actor and filmmaker. Throughout his oeuvre, themes of belonging and displacement recur, perhaps most pronounced in Farah’s first feature-length documentary A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy(2019) that sees Farah follow his beloved subject, famous Syrian actor Fares Helou, into exile in France.