Hasan, Mazen and Khaldoon were political prisoners once tortured in Syria’s infamous prisons, now living in Europe. Even after the hellish experience they went through in Syrian jails, these three men still had a thirst for life. Their positivity provoked a different kind of film which reveals the stories survivors tell themselves to cope and overcome, and that gives us a peek into what makes them so resilient and optimistic after all they went through.
Convinced that the men would communicate with much more transparency and honesty when talking with other ex-detainees than with filmmakers, the director devised a simulated set. In this documentary, the three survivors agree to be locked up again in a simulated cell in Oslo for three days with cameras filming their every word and every move. The men meet for the first time in the cell and organically start to find their way down memory lane, sharing with one another what they can find, without realizing the intensity of what they are revealing. The cell that started with three Syrian men ends up slowly with three vulnerable humans, shedding their masculine guards and their national baggage. How did Khaldoon greet his mother after 13 years of being detained falsely under a Tyrant regime?
How did Mazen hug his baby boy for the first time after months of solitary confinement and a year of torture?
How did Hasan use a chicken bone to sew back wounds in a prison where nothing is allowed in?
How did it feel like to see the sun after 200 days in dungeons sleeping on top of corpses?
The film gives us a peak into how the Syrians interpret their own current plight and what their psychological challenges are in understanding the gravity of their current history. However, their inner dialogues and reflections transcend the topic of Syria and take us on an inner journey which reminds us of what’s really important in life.