SYRIA / “Still Recording” shows everyday life in the Syrian war

Saaed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub’s documentary, Still Recording was released in French cinemas on March 27th. Filmed over four years, the film shows us daily life during Syria’s war, seen through the eyes of young Syrians, .

Saeed, an engineering student in Damascus, lives in Douma, eastern Ghouta, 20 kilometers from the Syrian capital. In 2011, he took part in the revolution as a photographer and cameraman, trying to record what was happening. Later he was joined by his friend Milad, a Fine Arts student from Damascus. Together they created a “network of filmmakers totally assimilated with the scarred and battered inhabitants”, in the words of film-maker Marie-Pierre Brétas, a member of ACID. In fact 8 videographers recorded nearly 450 hours of footage from 2011 to 2015.

It is a huge work, documenting the war as eyewitnesses to what was happening, seen from the inside. At first there is euphoria in the city, then, little by little, disenchantment turning to distress as, during the siege of Duma, the inhabitants become prisoners of the war.

Looking back on it, director Saaed Al Batal explains that “the film is above all a desire for understanding.” He tries to show the contradictions raised by the war, while at the same time questioning the role of the artist in the society.

Still Recording has been selected for many festivals and has already won several international awards. It was first shown at the Venice Critics’ Week, where it received the Audience Award, the FIPRESCI Award (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) and the Best Technical Achievement Award.


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