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In Syria-Insyriated 2017

In Syria | Insyriated | Une Famille Syrienne

In Syria-Insyriated-Une Famille Syrienne

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War in Damascus. Trapped inside their home, should a family sacrifice one of its members to protect the others?

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About In Syria / Insyriated 💬

War is right outside the door. The apartment that was once a familiar home has now become a prison...

Trapped inside her house in a city under siege, Oum Yazan (Hiam Abbass), mother of three, turned her flat into a safe harbor for her family and neighbors, trying to protect them from the war outside. Every day's motto is to hold on for one more day. When bombs threaten to destroy the building, when snipers turn the courtyards into deadly zones, and burglars break in to claim their dreadful bounties, maintaining the thin balance of routine inside the walls becomes a matter of life and death.


One day, in December 2012, a Syrian friend from Damascus told me that for the past three weeks, her father had been blocked inside his apartment in Aleppo, with no telephone or any means of communication because of the bombings and the war devastating the city. I pictured this lonely man, a prisoner in his own home, and I imagined others like him, trying to survive one day at a time.

This is the story of a family trapped inside its own home because of the war raging outside.

This project was driven by a sense of emergency. In an effort to react quickly, I decided from the beginning that there would be only one location, the apartment, and a time span of 24 hours so as to try to understand what animates ordinary people propelled into extraordinary circumstances - no heroes, but people simply reacting to the situation they are going through.

What I seek to communicate is the frailty and the force we are all capable of in a situation of distress. The instinct that gives us the strength to fight for survival and the drive for self-preservation at the expense of the needs of others stems from the same vital impulses and moral failings.

Yet there are no judgments or moral stances imposed, only facts laid to expose a bare reality.

To ensure the authenticity of the script I had written, I sought the advice of Syrians in exile, particularly those of fellow filmmakers Hala Mohammad and Meyar Al Roomy, and I relied on my own knowledge of the region. I have stayed and worked regularly in Lebanon for the past few years. The two nations share a common culture and customs, as they now, unfortunately, share the experience of civil war.

The film is intended as an immersive experience. The apartment feels like a bubble about to explode, the shadows are ominous, the outside world seems unreachable, forbidden. It is as if the characters are sitting on a volcano, short-tempered, jumpy, selfish, and yet trying to show empathy and compassion for their companions. Panic Room by David Fincher is a good reference in terms of tension, but here there are no tricks, no special effects, it is just a plain look at the drama of the situation.

As in my previous film, The Day God Walked Away, I feel strongly about avoiding any hint of indulgence or voyeurism in the way I approach violence. Like Jacques Tourneur, I believe that the less one sees, the better. I think that one is more susceptible to a sense of realism and emotion when, instead of looking away, one tries to see but doesn't see anything or so little that one must make up the missing images mentally. Only then can any kind of emotion including terror truly be experienced from the screen. Also, the sound has its own ability to evoke images, often stronger and more vibrant than images themselves. The violent actions described in the film are thus more acoustic than visual.

Still, I always try to express a notion visually instead of using dialogues to convey it. To me, faces and body language should tell it all.

Except for Hiam Abbass (the mother) and Diamand Bou Abboud (Halima), the actors are all Syrian refugees. As Juliette Navis (Delhani) doesn't speak Arabic, she was coached to produce her dialogues phonetically.

The uprising of the Syrian people started long years ago, and the war has been raging for well over eight years now while the rest of the world has done nothing to stop it. The Syrians seeking refuge in Europe right now have had no choice but to abandon their homes and country. They all come from places and situations for which we lack images.

Beyond the Syrian disaster today and others, past and present, I want to shine a light on the dignity of civilian populations that are ever more implicated in modern conflicts.

Philippe Van Leeuw

In Syria / Insyriated Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Philippe Van Leeuw

Writing Credits

Philippe Van Leeuw


Hiam Abbass

Diamand Abou Abboud

Juliette Navis

Mohsen Abbas

Moustapha Al Kar

Elias Khatter

Alissar Kaghadou

Ninar Halabi

Jihad Sleik

Husam Chadat

Orwa Khultum

Music by

Jean-Luc Fafchamps

Cinematography by

Virginie Surdej

Category: WSA, World Soundtrack Award Nominee

Genres: Drama, War

Countries: Belgium, France, Lebanon

In Syria / Insyriated Official Trailer

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