2022 / drama / France, UK, Syria / 103’ / Color / status : completed / Arabic / General Audience / long feature-film / All Rights / International collections
14-year-old Zeina and her family are the last to have stayed in their besieged hometown of Damascus in Syria. A missile rips a giant hole in their home, exposing them to the outside world. When a rope is mysteriously lowered into the hole, Zeina gets her first taste of freedom, and an unimaginable world of possibility opens up for her.
As the violence outside escalates, the family is pressured to evacuate, but Mutaz, her father is adamant that they stay, refusing to flee to the uncertain life of a refugee. Faced with a life or death dilemma, Zeina and Hala, her mother, must make the choice whether to stay or leave.
In her follow-up to The Day I Lost My Shadow, awarded in Venice with the Lion of the Future for Best Debut Film, and her Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning short, Aziza, Syrian director Soudade Kadan tells an allegorical tale of female emancipation where hope is born out of chaos.
Please find the press note here : NEZOUH Press Notes
“An intense and delicate film that bravely seeks to upend expectations of what the term “Syrian drama” generally suggests — violence and victims. Nezouh is often a powerful experience, largely on account of its multiple moments of visual artistry and wonderful details abound. Hélène Louvart and Burak Kanbir’s sun-bleached images of the annihilated Damascus convey the full nightmarish horror of what the war has done to the city. Nezouh, a film with a vision, works wonderfully well as a symbolic evocation of a more hopeful Syria.”
Screen - Jonathan Holland
“"The bombs can’t touch the stars". Trusting in the future, overcoming one’s fears, hoping rather than suffering, and using your imagination, and, first and foremost, women seizing their independence: these are the main themes explored by the Syrian filmmaker Soudade Kaadan in her second feature film Nezouh, an allegorical film. Brimming with wonderful surrealist ideas and treading a tragicomic line, Nezouh conveys to perfection the dilemma involved in deciding whether to stay or to leave, the full burden of the surrounding war and the difficulties involved in breaking with the patriarchy’s dominance in society.”
Cineuropa - Fabien Lemercier
“Kaadan's beautifully poetic film is a fable of two women, the men who love them and the power and magic that love carries with it. Ultimately Kaadan's film is a must watch and part of the reason why is the visual deliciousness of Nezouh, courtesy of her DoPs Hélène Louvart and Burrak Kanbir but also her art director Osman Ozcan. In Nezouh, she also enlisted the help of four spellbinding actors, which include al-Masri, Kinda Alloush, Hala Zein and Nizar Alani. It also helps that for Kaadan Italian neorealism, and in particular the cinema of Vittorio de Sica, are a constant inspiration. Nezouh is an obvious declaration on the power of cinema and its ability to change the world. And for that alone, Nezouh is an absolute winner.”
MIME - E. Nina Rothe
“Nezouh is a coming-of-age story, but with a constant sense of impending danger, giving to the characters a unique air of fatalism and courage. Kaadan explores the prelude to the refugee experience with great empathy for her characters, succeeding in delivering a sense of despair that carries within it a bright spark of optimism in spite of everything. It’s a bittersweet and fascinating story with some lovely shots and a touch of magic realism.”
The Upcoming - Mersa Auda
“Kaadan employs folklore and magic realism to explore civil strife in her country, Syria, in an allegorical tale of female emancipation. The movie examines how the war changed culture and societal norms. It is against this backdrop that the director weaves a heartrending story of the angst of being uprooted, male patriarchy and obstinacy. Kaadan, who also wrote the screenplay, keeps the narrative light without weighing it down with darkness and depression.”
Arab News - Gautaman Bhaskaran