La Terre de Gevar
- Qutaiba Barhamji
- 80 min
- Karim Aitouna (hautlesmains productions)
A patch of garden on the outskirts of Reims, far, very far from his orchards in Syria. During four seasons, Gevar learns how to farm this new land that waits for no one...
Recently settled with his partner and son in a Reims suburb, Gevar who has arrived from Syria, has decided to invest in the rental of a small patch of land to grow vegetables. Before clearing the land, he draws up plans, imagines what can be grown there and produces seedlings while dreaming of a fruitful garden. They arrived only a short time ago and will now have lay down roots here, as returning home is out of the question. Filmmaker Qutaiba Barhamji films them over four seasons as they settle on this new ground that often rebels against the couple’s hopes. The small patch of land is sometimes more welcoming than the rest of the country, they have to acclimatise and find their way in the culture, the language, neighbourhood spats and the gaze of the others. Festivities with Syrian friends follow on from each other, to sing, dance and share impressions of their arrival. But sometimes it is the daily dance that is tricky: they have to learn how to ignore the country’s absurdities and master the rules to avoid being duped. While the earth offers its fruits, the child grows up, his French improves, he corrects his father and demands his birthday song in French. The culture is taking root, while the cultivated earth is gradually abandoned for a job found far from Reims.
One day, vegetables from the bottom of the garden are stolen, the gesture is symbolic, their little plot of land is attacked, an unexpected hostility. Dreams of Syria and its revolution have turned into solitary survival in a new land, far from a lost and now infertile country.
PRINT SOURCE: Haut les Mains Productions, firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 (0)6 63 73 44 37
Born in the Damas suburbs, Qutaiba Barhamji spent his childhood between Syria and Russia, where he studied medicine. In 2005, he settled in Paris and studied film at ESEC. In 2016, he made the short, Wardé, coproduced and broadcast by Arte. In parallel, he has worked as an editor on some thirty documentary and fiction films, including Still Recording by Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, Fawzi Saleh’s Poisonous Roses and L'Homme qui penche by Olivier Dury and Marie-Violaine Brincard.