Dancing on the Edge Urgent artistic dialogues with the middle east

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Mohammad Malas

The films of Mohammad Malas have been termed “visual poetry” by a number of critics and artists. Like no other, Malas represents the Syrian auteur Cinema. Born in 1945 in the town of Quneitra in the Golan, he grew up under the impression of the many wars and conflicts in he region, something that was to play a central role in his later work.

After having worked for three years as a teacher in Damascus while styudying at the Faculty of Philosophy, Malas received a scholarship to study film making at the renowned Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK).
After his graduation in 1974, he returned to Syria where he gained a name as a critical and socially engaged film maker. He received wide international acclaim for his feature and documentary films and won a number of awards at film festivals around the world. Among his most important films are “Dreams of the City” (1983) and “The Night” (1992) which is set his home town Quneitra and based on auto-biographical motifs, as well as “The Dream”, a documentary that was shot in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in Beirut shortly before the terrible massacres of 1982 during which large numbers of the inhabitants were killed.

Since his graduation project from film school in Moscow (Everybody is in his Place and Everything is Under Control, Sir Officer), a collaboration with the Egyptian writer Sun’allah Ibrahim, the themes of personal freedom and oppression play a major role in the oeuvre of Mohammad Malas.