I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her GraveAna alati tahmol azouhour ila qabriha
SYRIA / 2006 / Arabic / B&W / Video / 110 min
Directors, Photography, Editing, Producers: Hala Alabdalla, Ammar Albeik
Script, Narrator: Hala Alabdalla
Sound: Jean-Marc Schick, L’Adelier Sonore
Music: Marcel Khalife
Production Companies: Ramad films, Les film d’ici
Sources: Hala Alabdalla, Ramad films
Unable to return even once to her hometown in Syria since leaving in 1981, Hala begins shooting a film in France with her younger friend Ammar serving as cameraman. She conducts intimate interviews with friends who remain separated from their homeland as old age approaches, and includes scenes showing the creative process of her painter husband, exiled for twenty-five years now. The camera, with its frequent hand-held shots and extreme close-ups that seem to reject an objective perspective, glides freely through time and space, revealing the poetry and urge to create poetry in daily life while lamenting the relentless passage of time and giving voice to love for one’s homeland.
A poem by Daed Hadad, a female Syrian poet who died in 1991:
I set out on a quest, I am searching.
I take a small camera, I film my girlfriends
I take my small camera, I film my journey
I take my small camera, I film the people who have inspired me
My girlfriends facing me
My journey guides my feet
People orient my thoughts
We four women,
We have not yet turned 50, but the moment is nearing
We, and each one on her own, will say that an accomplished life does not mean accomplishing one’s dream.
My journey guides my feet
My feet guide me on my journey
The journey that sketches the features of my film
The journey that ends in the locations of my suspended films
The journey of my life.
My thoughts are guided towards my unmade films
People guide me towards places from where I must embark
People guide me toward people I should meet
People guide me toward the light under which I ought to give birth.
Born in Hama, Syria, in 1956, she studied science and sociology in Syria and Paris. Since 1985 she has dedicated herself to cinema and has worked between Syria, Lebanon, and France, co-producing, co-writing, and co-directing Syrian, Lebanese, and French feature films and documentaries. This film won the Doc/It-Provincia Autonoma di Trento Award at the 63rd Venice Film Festival in 2006, and a bronze in the Muhr Awards Documentary section at the Dubai International Film Festival 2006.
Born in Damascus, Syria in 1972. His films include Light Harvest (1997), They Were Here (2000), When I Color My Fish (2002), and Clapper (2003). They have been screened at numerous international film festivals and won several awards including jury prizes at both the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival and the Ismailia International Film Festival for They Were Here and a jury prize at the Brisbane International Film Festival for When I Color My Fish.