a film by Khaled Abdulwahed


2018 | 26:00 min

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Documentary Experimental
The experimental short film deconstructs and reconstructs a photograph taken in 1998 of a Syrian cactus field, a plant known for its resilience. War and its havoc have been there. 20 years later there only remains this photograph projected on a wall in a flat in a Berlin backyard.

In autumn 1998, near his home in the southwest of Damascus, Khaled Abdulwahed took a landscape photograph of a cactus field on a 35mm chrome film. The old cactus fields in that area link the city with the countryside. Cacti grow all over the Middle East and are used for their fruits and as borders between houses and villages. The thorny, tough plant is also a symbol of resilience. The cactus field in Khaled’s film “backyard” consisted of 500,000 square-yards that belonged to farmers, who used to sell their cacP fruits every summer in the streets of Damascus. In the summer of 2012, the cactus fields were destroyed during the uprising, and the war started to form a new landscape. Khaled's picture on the film was damaged and lost, but he still had a scan of the photography-film. A silhouette of a camera stands in front of the copied picture that is projected on a wall. The silhouette of Khaled’s head moves behind the camera, checks the frame, we hear his breathing, the camera’s clicking. Khaled searches for the picture on the negative strip, cuts the negative, focuses, zooms, scans and develops. Helicopters, bulldozers, tanks, soldiers, fire and ash hit the cactus field. The picture is being erased. Piece by piece, Khaled carefully reconstructs the photograph’s viewpoint with a pen and a circle, he re-develops his picture. Following the cactus field’s forceful deformation and the deformation of the cactus field’s picture, the battles between original and copy, reality and image, he modifies, overwrites, adapts his memory.
CNAP (National Centre for Visual Arts) award – FID Marseille - Festival International de Cinéma
DOK Leipzig – German Competition
Cast and Crew
  • Director Khaled Abdulwahed (script, editing, sound, photography)
  • Producer Alex Gerbaulet
  • Assistant director Amel Alzakout
  • Producer Merle Kröger (Creative Consultant)
Production Company
pong film GmbH
Skalitzer Str. 62, 10997 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 61076098
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