program

FILMS

Purple Sea

74 films in 13 categories
Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed
Germany
67'


2020
Photo Film

V.O.

Arabic

subtitles

English, Romanian

producer

pong Film GmbH


Original Title

Purple Sea

CATEGORY

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

synopsis

The fact that, more and more often, people outside the American-European area take charge of their own representation isn’t only a symbolic gesture of decolonizing the imaginary, but it is also an opportunity to explore the hidden corners of cultures that were neglected or even trampled down by Westerners. One often expects a self-portrait, be it a collective one, to be more revealing than any other study made from an external standpoint. Therefore, a viewer might meet Amel Alzakout and Khaled Abdulwahed’s film with these expectations: after all, “Purple Sea” is a rare case of reversing the common perspective on migrants, of taking the cameras out of the hands of the journalists and the members of nongovernmental associations, and bringing them straight into the hands of the protagonists of the dramas we’ve been constantly watching for years, in a more or less distracted way, on our screens. Amel Alzakout is a Syrian artist who, like many others before her, leaves her natal country to come to Europe, a purpose for which she embarks on the now infamous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. And indeed, the crowded ship sinks near the coast of the Lesbos island – and the long hours of anxious waiting are captured by the waterproof camera which the filmmaker has hanging on her wrist. From off screen, in an elliptical manner and in an almost dream-like tone, Alzakout recounts the journey which lead her into the chaos we’re witnessing. The shock, as well as the revelation of the film resides in its lack of factual information, of instructive qualities: the images are unclear, frequently forming an indistinct mix of forms and colours representing limbs, clothes, or humble objects which now look like artefacts of a civilization swallowed by water; the narrator is imprecise, sometimes generic, other times very personal. We are denied the access to the truth of the migrants' experience, and the film’s radical aesthetic parti pris never allows us to believe, with the self-indulgence characteristic of the cinema spectator, that the fact that we feel as if we were among the castaways is one and the same thing with actually being one of them. (by Liri Alienor Chapelan)


awards and festivals

DocPoint Festival Helsinki 2021 - Special Mention

Berlin International Film Festival 2020 – World Premiere
Visions du Réel 2020 – International Premiere
Montreal International Documentary Festival 2020 - Grand Prize
Human Rights Film Festival Inconvenient Films Lithuania 2020 - Best Film Award
Filmmaker Festival Milano Italy 2020 - Youth Jury Prize
Robert Bosch Foundation – German-Arab Film Prize 2018

distributor

LIGHTDOX

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