Anti-government film wins prize in Damascus
The winner of Best Arab Film at this year's Damascus International Film Festival is an odd choice. It is about a Syrian political prisoner.
Out of Coverage focuses on the prisoner's best friend, and the prisoner's wife. His friend dedicates his life to trying to free him, and helping his family survive. But in the end, it becomes clear that he is the real prisoner - even though he isn't behind bars.
Along the way, it also raises questions about corruption, wasta, and arbitrary detention.
It is a brilliant film, and worthy of the award. But it is a mystery how it slipped past the censors, and then got singled out for a prize.
Since it was made, Out of Coverage has been - literally - out of coverage. The DVD hasn't gone on sale and the film hasn't been screened at any Syrian cinema - until this year's film festival.
Out of Coverage is now an award winning film on its home turf. But the story behind the film is even more interesting than the film itself.
Out of Coverage. Writer/Director: Abdellatif Abdelhamid. Syria, 2007. 100 minutes.