Syrian Love Story describes the relationship between a Palestinian man and a Syrian woman.
It is a story about how the disintegration of a country disintegrates a relationship of love.
The breakdown of the relationship is subtle and brutal at the same time.
The brutality is in the adults loving, fighting and hurting each other trying to accommodate the violence and rage of the Syrian Civil war. The subtlety is in the innocence and lack of understanding in their children’s faces.
Amer is a palestinian political activist, and Ragdha a left wing Syrian activist. They meet in prison, and fell in love.
In the early days of their relationship you can see the happiness in their faces fuelled by a passion of fighting oppression against the Syrian Government.
This is a tale of a change of priorities in a relationship between two people that is humanly mundane but agonisingly traumatic for the family involved. The hook and why this was made a programme is to see a civil war played out in a family from a country in a civil war. The family have to flee Syria to a refugee camp, to Lebanon to Paris, France. Time is slowed by a sense of dislocation showing them lying down a lot, smoking cigarettes with no aim or reason to live. Chillingly at one point their young son is angry and wants to kill the leader of the Syrian Government? You wonder is this how children are distracted and want to join radical political movements?
The gender politics is reversed which you could say is the downfall of the relationship? Ragdha is famous in Syria as a political activist, was imprisoned and tortured in Syrian jail. Ragdha is caught between the dilemma of deserting her children & husband and the Syrian Freedom Movement. Amer feels he and the children have been abandoned while she keeps in contact with the political activists inside Syria. The film’s progress is charted by the visible growing up of their young son. He starts the film by speaking on the phone to his mother in jail, and asking her where she is?
This is a dilemma that she cannot resolve. Is she a mother or an activist? Would this dilemma exist for a man?
Is he a father or an activist? We are strongly conditioned to judge women by their attitude to their mother role. In the end she chooses to be an activist. Her decision is made knowing her children are being well looked after by their father in a country that is safe & where they have a future.
You wonder if Amer as the husband and father had been the political activist unable to give it up-the family might have survived? His wife might have subjugated herself to the expected mother and wife role accepting her husband’s need to fight oppression?
Syrian Love Story
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2015
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique