Set as an experiment in a simulated cell in Oslo, three former political prisoners are locked up again for three days to revisit their memories in Syria's worst detention facilities. With no film crew on set, Privacy of Wounds offers an authentic reflection of the Syrian narrative today. 

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.  

Production and distribution

Production Year:
Production country:
Co production country:
Release date (international):
Production company:
UpNorth Film AS
Co production company:
Cinéphage Productions
Financing company:
Viken Filmsenter
The Freedom of Expression Fund
Executive producer:
Håvard Bustnes
Christian Falch
Tonje Hessen Schei
Torstein Parelius
Jonathan Borge Lie
Co producer:
Victor Edé
Film consultant:
Kalle Løchen


  • Dalia Al-Kury

    Dalia Kury (b. 1980) is a documentary filmmaker and a cultural producer. Her award winning films deal with the Arab identity and emerging cultural phenomena in the Arab world. Her latest feature film Possessed by Djinn was commissioned by ZDF Arte, and won the first prize at the Robert Bosch funding competition 2014, along two funds at the Venice Biennale 2014. The film was supported by Eurodoc and SANAD and premiered at the prestigious Hot Docs festival 2015. Dalia holds an MA in Screen Documentary, from Goldsmiths University - UK and is the author of 11 documentaries that have been screened or commissioned either by Aljazeera, Al Arabiya or Arte. Dalia lives in Oslo. 


    Privacy of Wounds (2018)

    Possessed by Djinn(2015)

    Peshmerga, one more time! (2015)

    River Jordan “The last breath” (2012)

    Asdika Al Arab TV series (2011)

    To Be Adiga (2010)

    Amman. East Vs West (2009)

    Banat Bab Allah (2009)

    Smile! You are in South Lebanon (2008)

    Arabizi 101 (2006)

    Caution! Comment Ahead (2006)

    Dalia Al-Kury


IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Nominated for the Amsterdam Human Rights Award
TIFF - Tromsø International Film Festival
Nominated for The Norwegian Peace Film Award


IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
TIFF - Tromsø International Film Festival
Göteborg International Film Festival
Human International Documentary Film Festival
Tempo Documentary Festival
Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival
One World - International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague
Arabiske filmdager - Arab Film Days
Haifa Independent Film Festival


Dalia Al-Kury
Rabee Irar
Dalia Al-Kury
Jonathan Borge Lie
Eyad Hamam
Sound Design:
Yohann Bernard
Yohann Bernard
Sound engineer:
Elory Humez
Sound Recording:
Eivind Johansson Vullum
Erik Andresen Brånen
Dalia Al-Kury
Hasan Kassas
First assistant director:
Hasan Kassas
Still photographer:
Stian Thilert

Technical information

DCP 2k
Screen ratio:
Sound format:
Stereo 5.1
Length in mins: