Screening date: 26-11-2007 -- 16h00
Déluge au pays Baas (A Flood In Baath Country)

Thirty-three years ago, Omar Amiralay was an unconditional supporter of his country's modernization; his first film celebrated the completion of "the dam on the Euphrates", pride of the governing Baas party. Today, he regrets this youthful mistake.
The collapse of one dam and the publication of an official report predicting that all the dams were built while the Baas was in power will come to the same end made him go back to the site of his first film.

All around Lake Assad lies the region Hafez-el-Assad of Syria. Within that new Syria, Amiralay selected one village: the village, its inhabitants, even its water hole all bear the same name - El Machi.

This "El Machian" entity, governed by a tribal chief, who is a member of parliament, ruled by his nephew who is headmaster of its school and the local party leader, epitomizes a country single-handedly moulded by the Baas for the last forty years.

Country: Syria
Production: AMIP - ARTE France
Year: 2003
Director: Omar Amiralay
Editing: Chantal Piquet
Cinematography: Meyar Al Roumi
DVCam  –  color  –  46 min

Filmography: Omar Amiralay
Nuhawwilu Sadd Al-Furat (Attempt At The Euphrates Dam), 1970
Al-Hayat Al-Yawmiya Fi Qaria Sûriya (Daily Life In A Syrian Village), 1974
Al-Dajaj (The Chickens), 1977
An Al-Thawra (On The Revolution), 1978
The Misfortunes Of Some…, 1982,
An Odour Of Paradise, 1982
The Sarcophagus Of Love, 1983
Video On Sand, 1984
Al-Adu Al-Hamim (The Intimate Enemy), 1986
The Lady Of Shibam, 1988
East Of Baden, 1988
For The Attention Of Madame The Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, 1990
Mudarris (A Teacher), 1992
On A Day Of Ordinary Violence, My Friend Michel Seurat…, 1996
There Are So Many Things Still To Say, 1996
A Plate Of Sardines (Or The First Time I Heard Of Israel), 1997
The Man With The Golden Soles, 2000
A Flood In Baath Country, 2003

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Born in 1944, Omar Amiralay is a Syrian documentary film director and prominent civil society activist. He is noted for the strong political criticism in his films and played a prominent role in the events of the Damascus Spring of 2000.
Amiralay studied in Paris before returning to Syria in 1970. He thus had a different artistic formation from the majority of Syrian filmmakers, who studied in the Soviet Union or in Eastern Europe.
His films include a trilogy of documentaries concerning the Asad Dam on the Euphrates. The first, Attempt at the Euphrates Dam (1970), is a tribute to Syria's greatest development project, but the second and third take a more critical approach. Daily Life in a Syrian Village (1976) shows the dam's ambiguous impact on the lives of ordinary people in a nearby village, and portrays their relationship with the authorities, seen as distant and disconnected from them. Amiralay revisited the region in 2004 with A Flood in Baath Country, which contains trenchant political criticism (it had the working title Fifteen Reasons why I hate the Baath Party). (Wikipedia)

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