When the weapon is a camera
“After my military service I became a sergeant. When the revolution broke out in Syria, I was assigned to the reserves, and given the task of running the Bassel Al Assad theater in Damascus. I worked here as an assistant director for my friend Mohammed Malas. With my video camera I tried to document our daily life. The technicians, mostly members of the opposition, told me their stories.”
Al-Rakib Al-Khaled (The Immortal Sergeant) sketches a condition of places where more than friction, conflict and fracture what is put forward is dialogue and exchange between those who hold very different positions. Ziad Kalthoum seeks to normalize life in a corner of the world where normality seems to have been banished. The war remains off-screen, from where it reverberates like thunder in the images and the faces in them.
Al-Rakib Al-Khaled is a documentary about the power of film as a tool able to connect disparate elements. In the film, cinema is everywhere: it is the fiction that Malas is stubbornly seeking to create, it is the screening room that continues to organize its cycle of screenings, it is the documentary that wants to give a voice to others… But most of all it is the necessary reverse shot to that succession of violence we see on the news, day after day.