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Wednesday, November 12, 2008 

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.

i think the new wave which going to contorl the syrian's series and movies is the stories of the preisoners.

Is this the same film as 'Days of Boredom' mentioned on the awards page at: http://damascusfest.com/html/winners_e.htm? I can't think that title will guarantee a box office hit, but it might get round the censors. The stories of Syrians imprisoned for their beliefs is a compelling one though.

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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