A cinematic letter to Federico Fellini: Dear Federico, I don’t think that this circus from Italy, which is visiting Syria, has ever visited Rimini, your town in the past. This circus is nothing like the one in your childhood.No one can tame the lion here in this tent; it’s smashing everyone and everything. Even the clowns with their wide, grotesque, make-up smiles and their cheap colourful costumes, meant to make my brother and me and all the other kids laugh, are terrified. Everybody is running out of the circus. Everyone is leaving their excitement inside and carrying the sadness on their shoulders and the terror in their eyes while sprinting out of the tent. No fireworks around the tent Federico! Neither their mesmerizing colours are there when they explode, nor is the sound of their explosions. Scud and bombs are the fireworks that we recognise my friend! Red is the colour that we see. And everyday here, my friend, the usage of the word ‘Mama’ becomes less and less; either children die, or mothers.
’Vita’ is not ‘dolce’ in Syria, Federico!
The circus is boring.
And I miss you.
I forgot to tell you this earlier: ‘Lion’ in Arabic means: ‘Al Assad’.
Ammar Al-Beik, born in Damascus, Syria in 1972, is an award-winning filmmaker and artist based in Berlin, Germany. His films have been shown at numerous international festivals, including Venice, Locarno, Rotterdam, Yamagata, Busan, and Oberhausen. Represented by Ayyam Gallery since 2008, Al-Beik’s artworks have been featured in exhibitions across the world, most recently at Photo Shanghai, China (2014), and are housed in private and public collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Format: DCP, DCP Cinemascope, QuickTime ProRes 1:1.78 (16:9), Colour & Black/White
Colour: colour & black/white
Running time: 23 min