Director: Philippe Van Leeuw
Cast: Hiam Abbas,
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Country of Origin; France-Belgium 2017 85 mins. (15)
Winner Panorama Audience Award 2017 Berlin Film Festival
Released by Curzon-Artificial Eye
The sound of sniper fire and helicopter gunships overhead are the only indication of war. Oum Yazan (Hiam Abbas), her two daughters, a boyfriend, her son and elderly father-in-law Abou Monzer (Mohsen Abbas) and their neighbours Halima (Diamand Bou Abboud), her new born child and a housemaid Delmani (Julietta Navis) are a family under siege in a Damascus apartment. Small subtle moments convey the desperate need to cling onto some semblance of sanity and normality. A knock on the door, a moment of fear, government officials enter and begin to search the apartment. The family have taken refuge in the kitchen but Halima is subjected to an horrific rape and the camera lingers on her face. Later she's asked 'Are you alright'? It's almost laughable, an all-too human question asked with genuine feeling when nothing is alright in Syria.
Powerful and gripping with a superb cast who are mainly Syrian refugees - Hiam Abbas is outstanding as Oum, the mother, who by sheer force of will keeps it all together. Ironically only Oum and the housemaid Delhani know that their neighbours will never begin their journey to Beirut - Halima's husband Samir (Moustapha Al Kar) was hit by a sniper's bullet and left for dead in the apartment back yard.
'Insyriated' should be compulsory viewing for all.