FOR WAAD is a cinema letter, echoing the film FOR SAMA made in Aleppo in 2016 by the Syrian director and journalist Waad Al Kateab.
Composed only of archives filmed in pre-war Syria, between 2005 and 2007, FOR WAAD opposes and superimposes traumatic images of death and destruction, images of the living and a sumptuous heritage.
Cinematographic transplant which hopes, if only for the time of its vision, to revive Homs, Aleppo, Palmyra… but above all its inhabitants, its children. Archives put on hold for fifteen years, this film would like to re-produce the Unforgettable, indestructible material that restores the gaze, repairs the abyss dug in bodies, souls and stones by a war that has lasted for ten years. The force and the violence of the images in FOR SAMA were the powerful detonators that forced me to dive back into my archives that I had never had the courage to view. I knew that everything I had filmed was destroyed, and that all the children I had filmed, without knowing at all why, were now of age to wage war and die. This film has become for me an organic necessity, the desire to live up to the unique gesture of cinema made by an artist, a journalist, a woman, a mother with unwavering courage whose first name, WAAD, means THE PROMISE. . As a filmmaker, it is possible for me - and only in pictures - to rebuild a country for all those who did not survive or tore themselves away from it, for all those who could not have traveled it. So humbly archive everything / everyone that existed before my eyes before the ruin.
I went to Syria for the first scouting in 2005.
Aleppo, its surroundings, the banks of the Euphrates and Palmyra were the settings for the film THE LEGEND OF SYMÉON , the spring season of LIGHTNING , a legend in four seasons produced by Mathieu Bompoint, Mezzanine Films. I went there alone the first time, two weeks, in the spring, with a small location camera, without a team. I left to shoot in 2007 with two characters from the film and a director of photography. It was before the war. I am not going to tell here the subject of the film that I came to shoot since it is a question of giving to understand the raison d'être of FOR WAAD . But I'll just give the reasons why it was necessary to shoot in Syria, and nowhere else. Syria, in particular Aleppo and nearby, the Rock of Saint Symeon, Palmyra, the banks of the Euphrates and the desert of Cham were the real backdrops of the scenes which took place there. Because the reality of these “sets” was the main subject. I reincarnated the true history of these places and the exceptional characters or things that had inhabited them. It was a staging of places and mythical, mythological figures. I was staging the legend of the country. But beyond what I had come to spot and shoot, I filmed for hours and hours the faces and the landscapes, the heritage and the children, obsessively the children. I brought back about twenty hours of rushes. Only less than an hour constituted the body of my fiction. Everything else was filmed intuitively, for no reason, in the urgency to bring back a trace, to keep in memory, to constitute living proof. An archive like a hunch. Is it precisely because I had something to hide, something essential that constituted me, these origins which had taught me that everything can disappear at any time, that a people can be exterminated, cities destroyed by 'a trait by a dictatorship, which I have listed, brought back all these proofs of lives, of millennial stones, why the EUPHRATE river appeared to me as primordial, biblical, my own cradle?
Even today I cannot understand why I could not survey the country, on foot, by car, by plane, without stopping to film. Of all the travel experiences I have had to make a film, this has never happened to me. I even filmed sleepers inside mosques, soldiers in reservations, villagers who received us for tea in their homes, where decorum and knowledge of the customs and restrictions of the country should have prevented me. . I filmed as if I would never come back. Once in 2005 with my little SONY MINIDV, once in 2007 with my SONY HD. Two memory formats. We are in 2021 and I have never been back.