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A Flood in Baath country

Syria, France, 2003
46 MIN
Directed by: Omar Amiralay

In 1970, Omar Amiralay made a short documentary, Film-Essai on the Euphrates Dam, in praise of the ruling Baath party's project to construct an impressive system of dams. Today, after fatal construction flaws have been discovered, his controversial new film explores the metaphorical implications of such weakness. Without commentary or criticism, Amiralay's film exposes Baath party propaganda and its debilitating effects on the people of al-Mashi village, 400 kilometres (250 miles) northeast of Damascus. The camera moves slowly from students to teachers to government officials, with everyone reciting the exact same praises for the president and slogans glorifying 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.