Dancing on the Edge Urgent artistic dialogues with the middle east

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A Flood in Baath Country (Tufan fi Balad el-Ba‘th)

Omar Amiralay

Omar Amiralay |Syria/France |2003 |46’ |Color| English subtitles

His 1970 documentary, Film-Essay on the Euphrates Dam, was in praise of the ruling Baath party’s project to construct an impressive system of dams. Made after fatal construction flaws were discovered, this controversial sequel explores the metaphorical implications of such a failure.

Without commentary, Amiralay’s film exposes Baath party indoctrination, and its debilitating effects on the people of al-Mashi village. Students, teachers and government officials are seen reciting the exact same phrases glorifying the president and the Baath party. The film is the harshest indictment yet of the regime, portraying the devastating effects of 35 years of rigid Baath party rule on Syrian society.