The PotAl Qaroura
SYRIA / 2005 / Arabic / Color, B&W / Video / 12 min
Director: Diana El Jeiroudi
Photography: Alfoze Tanjour
Editing: Raouf Zaza
Music: Shafee Zein Eddin
Producer: Orwa Nyrabia
Production Company, World Sales: Proaction Film
What does it mean for a woman’s identity to become wholly attributed to her husband’s family after marriage and her children after childbirth? The camera rhythmically moves in and out of the stories of four married Syrian women in Syria’s Islamic society as they openly question and talk about their work, housework, childbearing and their individual selves. While the women speak boldly from a confined domestic space—a woman’s ‘space’—about their lives, the shape of universal patriarchy appears. In purposely choosing to eliminate the women’s faces from the frame, this experimental short film from Syria explores the meaning of “the pot.”
[Director’s Statement] Mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, parents, other couples and some singles often ask married women, especially if newlywed, “Are you hiding anything?”
This is the indirect way of asking, “Are you pregnant YET?”
On one hand, I have never felt at ease with such a socially approved private question. But on the other hand, being so genuinely concerned about what these women have in their bodies, felt like an obsession to me. This feeling was maximized while I had the chance to do those interviews. I felt that those women never had the chance to talk about their mental as opposed to their physical interiors.
The idea that makes a female stand for a pot is the fact that a pot derives its raison d’etre from what it contains, and obviously then, the contents diminish the container. This idea left no space for any other title than “The Pot” (“Al Qaroura” in Arabic).
Maybe with an orientalist approach, this could be looked at and referred to as the influence of Islamic values. Values which—truly in some aspects—do stand for covering rather than unveiling self-interiors. Values which give massive authority to the whole rather than the part. However, I never thought of going to see “what,” but rather “why.” And have I really found the answer? I would like to share this insider look with you.
This film does not actually explore the idea that society acknowledges females only upon delivering a successor. It is a simple twelve-minute space of listening to how those females look at themselves and their beholders, of experiencing their individuality. It leaves them to continue looking inside their own “pots.”
Diana El Jeiroudi
Born 1977 in Damascus, Diana El Jeiroudi was raised in both Damascus and Baghdad. After studying English Literature at the University of Damascus, she worked at several international advertising agencies. She was one of the founders of Proaction Film, Syria’s sole independent film production company. She was involved in many training and networking events, and is a part of a movement to raise the local standards of the production industry by encouraging young artists and undertaking ambitious productions. She is launching her career as a director with The Pot.