Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait is a study in the process of mourning and an avowal of cinema's evolving revolutionary capacities. The film chronicles Ossama Mohammed’s efforts to wrestle artistically with the politics of displacement and the shift from peaceful protests to catastrophic war. A product of a new estrangement, the film recalls to viewers those first exhilarating months in which Syrians demanding an end to tyranny and injustice crossed the threshold of fear. The film also testifies to the subsequent carnage. And it intriguingly complicates Mohammed's long-term preoccupation with cinematic form by incorporating footage taken by ordinary citizens.
Ma'a al-Fidda (original title)
Runtime: 92 minutes
Country: France | Syria | USA | Lebanon
Language: Arabic, with English subtitles
Ossama Mohammed, in exile in Paris since 2011, sifted through thousands of online videos documenting the daily atrocities in his country to make Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait, bearing witness to the horrors of the civil war. The award-winning film has been featured at the Cannes and New York film festivals, as well as in Beirut, Istanbul, Tunisia, and various parts of Europe.
Lisa Wedeen is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. Her publications include Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999) and, most recently, "Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria" in Critical Inquiry 39.4 (2013).