To be sure, « chaos » names the cause, the sinister cause, of everything at stake here: war devastating Syria, a country and its people. « Chaos », however, is also the name of its consequences: losing one’s way and one’s bearings, exile, madness, absence of speech, and the meager exercises of survival. Sara Fattahi’s second feature-length film invites us to follow three women. One, quite elderly, cloistered in her apartment in Damas, her household rituals rehashed as a way of remaining close to her murdered son. The second one, exiled in cold Sweden, does not painting to exorcise demons. The last one, in silence, wanders around a deserted Vienna: in the subway, the museum, an empty apartment. Occasionally, we hear Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann’s voice o -screen: we all know how much she worked, in a post-war context, to find a language cleansed of past outrage. If such montage technique brings to mind other makers of testimony, no doubt among the worthiest, it is nonetheless flagrant that, following Bachmann’s example, Sara Fattahi is looking elsewhere, barely feeling her way through, as if molding a unique cinematographic language. And as if secret was really pushing it forward; as if doors, windows, glasses, the edge of the forest, and thresholds of all kinds – as they constantly punctuate Chaos – were its guardians. In this eminently overwhelming film, war ultimately gives up its place for something else, through the portrait in chiaroscuro of what chaos might mean at the heart of feminine labour. (J.P.R.)
Original version: Arabic, German. Subtitles: French. Script and Image: Sara Fattahi. Editing: Raya Yamisha. Music: Nadim Husni. Sound: Sara Fattahi, Bruno Pisek. Casting : Raja, Heba.
Production and Distribution: Little Magnet Films (Paolo Calamita). Filmography: Coma, 2015.
EP – Histoire(s) de Portrait
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