From My Syrian Room

How can an artist retain his power and identity in a country that has been ruled with fear for his entire life? Syrian Hazem Alhamwi is a filmmaker and caricaturist who spent years in his room drawing satires of Al-Assads government. From an early age he had watched his fellow Syrians being accustomed to fear, until the year 2011 brought out people’s courage and yearn for freedom.

Alhamwi observes himself and his acquaintances: a songwriter, a poet and a teacher who all use art to express how they feel. Some of them have been incarcerated. They recite Syrian history under Al-Assads’ rule: about the ideology they have been fed, about becoming aware of reality, and the hope the Arab Spring brought before disintegrating into a civil war.

The director steers clear from newscast-style documentary narration. Instead he uses extreme close-ups of plants, eyes, hands and his pet turtle. Violence in the streets is audible on the soundtrack while beautiful images clash with the cruel reality. Towards the end, tables turn: a solemn cello plays while the screen fills with people living in the middle of a war.

Text: Eija Niskanen / Translation: Tapio Reinekoski

Languages: Arabic
Subtitles: English


  • Director: Hazem Alhamwi
  • Country: France, Syria, Germany, Qatar
  • Year: 2014
  • Length: 70 min
  • Age limit: K12
  • Format: HDcam
  • Cinematography: Hazem Alhamwi, Ghassan K.
  • Editing: Florence Jacquet
  • Audio: Hazem Alhamwi, Frédéric Maury
  • Music: Sivan
  • Production: Nathalie Combe / Cosmographe Productions


  • Orion: Thursday 30.1. at 20:00