Tadmor (Palmyra)
By Monika Borgmann & Lokman Slim
© 2016 UMAM Productions
Arabic with English and French subtitles

When UMAM D&R started its initiative Shared Suffering - Exploring the Abyss of Syrian Prisons, its directors, Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim, started to think about a possible film while listening to the testimonies of former detainees in Syrian prisons.

"When I was in Tadmor Prison, I thought my life had ended… Fear, sickness, defeat… Humiliation upon humiliation upon humiliation… Words cannot describe the brutality I experienced… Life had passed me by… But we returned from hell… Freedom is as precious as the soul…" were the words used to describe Tadmor Prison by the former detainees who survived its horrors. Tadmor had just one purpose: the complete physical and psychological destruction of its inmates.

How does one make a film about such a carceral system and about the rawest of emotions, such as fear, terror, hate, disgust, shame, pain, weakness, helplessness, boredom, resistance, hope, and strength? The answer came from them, the survivors themselves. In "Tadmor," they guided us and we followed.

In an extraordinary endeavor of collaboration and trust, built on a years-long and enduring relationship, the men were ready to confront—together—their common past. Words alone could not describe the cruelty of their detention. Words alone could not exorcise that horrendous past. Ultimately, the men chose to reenact it. They wanted to relive it. In "Tadmor," twenty-two men recall their individual and collective stories of torture and survival. They speak for themselves, but also for those who are still trying to survive the same systematic torture and humiliation.

Read more here:

With Ali Abou Dehn, Raymond Bouban, Rachid Mirhoum, Moussa Saab, Saadedine Saifeddine, Elias Tanios, Moustafa Schamseddine, and many others

Director of Photography: Talal Khoury
Assistant Director: Rami Nihawi
Editor: Olivier Zuchuat
Original Music: Pierre Jodlowski
Length: 104 min

Produced by: Les Films de l’Étranger, GoldenEggProduction & UMAM Productions 
Supported by: The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Cinéforom & Loterie Romande, Aide aux cinémas du monde (CNC), Doha Film Institute, Eurométropole de Strasbourg, Fondation éducation21 | Films pour un seul monde, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Office Fédéral de la Culture - OFC, Région Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine, SANAD, UMAM Documentation & Research & Volkart Foundation 

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