Screen/Society--Middle East Film Series--"Taste of Cement"
Taste of Cement
(Ziad Kalthoum, 2017, 85 min, Germany, in Arabic with English subtitles, Digital)
A portrait of workers in exile, Taste of Cement is an empathetic encounter with people who have lost their past and their future, locked in the recurring present.
With his second feature, Ziad Kalthoum creates an essay documentary of Syrian construction workers building new skyscrapers in Beirut. As they help rebuild ruined neighborhoods in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war, they own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese government has imposed curfews on refugees and so the workers are locked in the building site overnight. Every night in their pit below the skyscraper the news from their homeland and the memories of the war haunt them. Mute and imprisoned in the cement underground, they must endure until the new day arrives where the hammering and welding drowns out their nightmares.
With exquisite framing, unorthodox editing, and dreamlike narrative detours, Taste of Cement is a daring, imaginative and visually challenging cinematic work.
-- Winner of several awards for Best Documentary Feature, including at the 2017 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and the 2017 Adelaide, Camden, and Nyon Visions du Réel film festivals!
"It’s an impressive feat of formalistic filmmaking... Such a purely visual approach recalls the work of filmmakers like Nikolaus Geyrhalter or James Benning, although Kalthoum’s camera is more active and his editing more aggressive." - The Hollywood Reporter
Sponsored by the Duke University Middle Eastern Studies Center (DUMESC), the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES), and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI).
Screen/Society screenings are free and open to the public.