Wednesday, 15 October 2014

LFF REVIEW - SILVERED WATER, SYRIA SELF-PORTRAIT (WIAM SIMAV BEDIRXAN AND OSSAMA MOHAMMED)


Searching the images they've been bestowed by citizens of war-torn Syria, Wiam Simav Bedirxan and Ossama Mohammed find truth, but no clarity. Their own footage attempts to better delineate their interpretations of the recent conflict, which they unambiguously present from a rebel perspective, yet here they find only more questions in response to the questions they pose. Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait is cinema in and of itself, its own response to the Syrian war but also to cinema as a whole; it's virtually not a possibility to witness what they have compiled here and not wonder why other directors try, why other films even get made. Is there so important, so worthy a discussion as that which Bedirxan and Mohammed spark herein, in a work of singular artistry that is cumulatively difficult to describe. Its individual components, though, are identifiably harrowing, hopeless, shudderingly horrible, as draining as one could expect any film to be. Above and beyond the transcendent poetry with which Silvered Water has been created, this must be its primary purpose, and there's no more appropriate purpose for a document such as this, of such unimaginable horror. And it is truly unimaginable, non-sensationalised yet as graphic in its content and as immediate in its effect as the most gratuitous of movie violence - thus, it acts as a condemnation of violence as a concept, be it the mere threat of it, or the mere simulated representation of it. There's nothing as real as the real thing. Bedirxan and Mohammed communicate such a phenomenal wealth of material in even the most ostensibly basic of shots or devices, bringing to mind the early works of James Benning perhaps, but most directly question the concept of change: where have we come from to end up in so dire a position as the current situation in Syria, and where will we end up in future? The film provides only more questions in response to this question, the only discernible clarity in Bedirxan and Mohammed's pessimistic, though entirely comprehensible conclusion: we live only to die, and thus 'survival is the strongest of choices'.