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A Film Diary

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Watched: 10 November

Insyriated (released as In Syria in some countries) is an intense family drama by Belgian director Philippe Van Leeuw that’s set in the war-torn city of Damascus. The action takes place within one appartment, into which a matriarch and another young family have barricaded themselves while opposing forces battle on the streets below. I’m not sure whether the intention was to accurately describe a typical situation that a family may have faced or may currently be facing in Syria to those of us watching from outside the country – and to that end I have no idea whether the director himself has ever set foot in the state – but it’s certainly a well-acted, claustrophobic and tense chamber piece, while the narrow focus and single setting seems to bring the best out of Hiam Abbass in the lead role. Let’s just forget about the terrible pun made by the title. (***)

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