The Road to Damascus: Discovering Syrian Cinema May 5 – 18, 2006
Organized by ArteEast and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
The first North American retrospective of a stellar period of Syrian cinema, from the 1970s through today, is a particularly timely and relevant program. The Road to Damascus covers an impressive breadth of subjects. There are love stories, family dramas, historical epics, and political critiques. They offer up a range of emotions from outrage to joy, despair to hilarity. Included are works by Russian-trained master filmmakers, as well as independent works from a budding generation of filmmakers who have just begun to develop their own voice, their own vision of cinema and of Syria.
We pay a long-overdue tribute to documentary filmmaker Omar Amiralay. Winner of numerous international awards for his films, Amiralay was the subject of a special homage at this year’s Cinéma du Réel Festival in Paris.
Amiralay, along with fellow Syrian filmmakers Oussama Mohammad, and Diana el-Jeiroudi will be in attendance at the screenings of their films during the opening weekend (Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7). In addition, the directors will participate in Syrian Cinema Today and Tomorrow, a panel discussion moderated by the Film Society’s Program Director Richard Peña on Sunday, May 7 at 4:30 pm. The panel is free to the public; complimentary passes are available at the Walter Reade Theater’s box office.
Click here to read a personal statement about Syrian Cinema by Richard Peña.
Support for the series has been generously provided by the Ousseimi Foundation (Switzerland) and the Department for Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) at Columbia University.
Special thanks to Hala Abdallah Yacoub, Abdellatif Abdul-Hamid, Mohammad Malas, Atassi Gallery (Mona Atassi and Maher Barbar), Roula Roukbi, Souheil Shadoud, Raafat Charkas, the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington DC (H.E. Dr. Imad Moustapha and Lina Kawakibi), Hilary Clark, Mitra Abbaspour, Oussama Ghanam, Ram Devineni (Rattapallax), Ibrahim Salti and Nuha Nuwayri-Salti. Extra special thanks to Maria Ousseimi al-Akhaoui, Omar Amiralay, Oussama Mohammad, Orwa Nyrabia and Diana el-Jeiroudi (Proaction Film).
An article about Syrian cinema by Damascus-based writer Cécile Boëx appears in the May/June issue of Film Comment.
For a listing of films in The Road to Damascus series go to Program. To view a calendar of events and to purchase tickets online go to