YIDFF 2007 International Competition
I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave
An Interview with Hala Alabdalla, Ammar Albeik (Directors)

We Want to Depict Life Like a Network in a Cobweb

Q: What triggered you to make this film?

Hala Alabdalla (HA): I am fifty years old now, and I have made many different kinds of films in the film industry for many years, but I have always wanted to make a documentary about various issues that our society has. Then, chance brought me together with Ammar. All the films he had made by then were short films, and he was making his films on his own, with no financial support from anywhere. I wanted to make a feature film with him, so I talked to him about what kind of film I wanted to make. We had this project for a long time, but it took us forever to make it happen. Collaboration requires a great deal of trust between the parties, and also patience in many ways.

Q: This film hardly ever goes into any detail about the subjects. Why is that?

HA: It is not my intention to expose the way I live. What I wanted to communicate through this film was not matters concerning my friends and myself, but wounds women have in general and issues concerning life. By wounds I mean political and social issues, or the situation where one is not able to make the film she wants to make. Each woman has her own issues, so what I tried to do was to read aloud, or express, the wounds we had experienced, by way of poetry or in relation to history. For example, it is easy to have an interview and ask in detail why I had chosen to go into exile, or why a female friend of mine was in prison, but the reason why I chose not to do so was not because of privacy, but because I wanted to depict a woman with slightly more of generality and universality than that—I wanted to depict issues and wounds concerning life that human beings have. By doing so, I believed that regional issues, issues that the country we lived in had, would become visible.

Q: Early in the film, there is an image that resembles a spider’s web. What was your intention behind that?

Ammar Albeik: By that cobweb, I wanted to express something like a map that puts together various raw materials, various components, which are linked by fine networks and constitute life. The cobweb has been a symbol of life and death since ancient times, weaving many different things into itself and symbolizing death that visits us suddenly. We looked for other such things, and used a river, water, and trees in addition to a cobweb. It is not usual for a film to be shot by two directors, like this film. After our names in the credits comes the scene of a cobweb. It indirectly symbolizes the fact that the film was made by two persons. We wanted to express the fact that the film was made as a result of human relations woven together, like a network in a cobweb. Not just we, but the subjects in the film are also tangled with one another like a cobweb, and make up society. Then, a spider moves on the cobweb and reveals a man in military uniform. What we wanted to express by that was military people, that is, people who obey authority, who have to obey authority, people bound by rules. We are comparing those who kill and those who are killed to a spider and an insect caught in a cobweb.

(Compiled by Kimuro Shiho)

Interviewers: Kimuro Shiho, Okuyama Kanako / Interpreter: Yamamoto Asako / Translator: Ann Yamamoto
Photography: Sonobe Mamiko / Video: Sonobe Mamiko / 2007-10-08