Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our Terrible Country @ Artists Space

Our Terrible Country
Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street

Screening & Conversation: Friday, February 13, 2015, 7:00 PM

Syrian journalist and filmmaker Mohammad Ali Atassi introduces his 2014 documentary Our Terrible Country, produced with photographer Ziad Homsi. This vital and insightful film addresses the stages of the Syrian revolution through the figure of Yassin Haj Saleh, a celebrated intellectual and dissident.

Our Terrible Country developed as a portrait of Haj Saleh after he and his wife, activist Samira Khalil, fled from Damascus to Douma in 2013, a liberated city under siege from pro-Assad forces where Homsi was based. As a strong bond forms between Homsi and Haj Saleh, representing two distinct generations of political and intellectual dissidence in the country, the film becomes a depiction of their beliefs, hopes and helplessness as they together make the dangerous journey first to Raqqa, the Syrian city under the control of IS where members of Haj Saleh's family are based, and then into exile in Turkey.

Filmed over a year in Syria and Turkey, the film highlights the progression of the Syrian Revolution, from its pacifist beginnings to its militarization, the bombardment and destruction of cities by the Syrian regime, and the emergence of extremist Islamist currents and their quest to take hold of the revolution. It is also a compellingly direct view into the lives of those struggling to hold onto a political position within an unrelenting and devastating conflict.

Following the screening of Our Terrible Country, Mohammad Ali Atassi will be in conversation with Iraqi poet, novelist and scholar Sinan Antoon.

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