Siege: Cinema Under Siege in Yarmouk

The brutal government siege imposed on the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk for almost a year and a half never managed to smother its spirit. From pictures and videos to a travelling pianist singing songs of love and hope, residents of Yarmouk recorded their daily lives under siege and against all odds.

Today, a documentary titled Siege emerges from the heart of suffering in Yarmouk, to portray four daily realities of the multi-faceted siege on the camp.

"Siege is the outcome of a workshop via Skype with twelve young people under siege in Yarmouk Camp near Damascus," Bidayat, the producing organization explains.

The nine-minute film is produced by Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts in partnership with Watad, and directed by Abdullah al-Khatib, Deaa Yahea, Moayad Zaghmout, Baraa Nmrawi, Jamal Khalife, Mohammad Alsukari, Wassim Munawar, Abdul Rahman Saleem, Omar Abdullah, Nawar al-Youssef.

Unfortunately, even the movie could not save itself from the siege, bombardment and abuse. According to Bidayat, after the latest assault on Yarmouk carried out by Daesh, Jamal Khalife, one of the filmmakers, and Firas al-Naji, coordinator of Watad, were both killed. The insurgent group also attempted to abduct Abdullah al-Khatib, one of Siege's directors.

Siege is composed of four different two-minute vignettes: Dana, named after the movie's heroine, depicts the shortage of water in Yarmouk, Ampere, Children of the Brown Earth and Yarmouk Bus Station. The latter probably being the most poetic of the four.

Yarmouk Bus Station tells the story of the bus line that connects the camp with the city of Damascus, and the longing that Yarmouk residents feel after they were disconnected from the rest of the city during the siege.

With painful reminiscence, the film's protagonist recites the little details he experienced riding the bus to Damascus everyday before the siege:

"[Remember when] the smell of vegetables mingles with the scent of an old man and the fragrance of a beautiful woman. The sound of the radio mingles with the voice of a young man telling his girlfriend 'I'll meet you in 15 minutes outside the university."

This work is under a Creative Commons license. Attribution: Non commercial - ShareAlike 4.0. International license

Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad