War and documentary filmmaking in Syria between 2011 and 2019

  • After the Syrian uprising in 2011, different media has been used to cover the progress of events occurred in several geographical areas in Syria. One of these was the use of documentary films to inform the international community about the evolution and the transformation of peaceful demonstrations and popular and revolution into violent clashes between the Syrian regime and opponents. However, documentary films on the war in Syria are not worldly analysed. A few online articles and documents retrieval evoke shortly some documentary films with review or screening announcement. This study aims to examine the impact of the war on documentary filmmaking in Syria. The key question of this research is to understand how the war circumstances as well as the socio-political situation have contributed to the construction of a new landscape through documentary films reflecting different topics and director claims after the Syrian peaceful demonstrations after 2011. We will explore ten documentary films from between 2011 and 2019. These films will be examined chronologically in appropriate sections in this research. The importance of these films lies in the different topics they showcase. In terms of methods, a rhetorical and semiotic analysis of these documentary films will be used to focus on key images and comments related to different topics such as healthcare in warfare time (the Cave, 2019), rescuing and protecting civilian in conflict (Last men of Aleppo, 2017) or surviving under bombarding (For Sama 2019). On the other hand, semi-structured interviews with film makers might be conducted to answer the challenges impacting the fate of their works. This will allow readers to understand the theoretical changes before and after the release of the films. We will investigate why the documentary film ‘7 days’ in Syria was released in 2015 while it has made in 2012. The aim of this process is to find out what is common between these films in order to show the neutrality and the objectivity of each director. In other words, we want to see if different social or political circumstances help make films and if documentary films can reflect these circumstances. This also allows us to understand the boundaries between fiction and reality and discover if there are some changes on the filmmaking process and what are the main factors contributing to adopt final versions of films. This research will highlight the difficulties that filmmakers face while working on their films in Syria in terms of the production process, logistics or other issues.

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