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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Eran Riklis, Montreal winner talks about his film

Syrian Bride took best film at Montreal:
Eran Riklis, its director talks about his film:

"Weddings along Israel’s border with Syria involving Druze residents of the Golan Heights and their relatives in Syria are practically routine events in an area occupied by Israel since 1967. The drama is usually foreseeable: a young woman leaves her family knowing that once she crosses the border she can never return home to Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in the Golan. But Mona's wedding day has something more. At the end of the day, she finds herself trapped in no-man's land between the borders - because of bureaucracy, because of years of hostility, because of indifference on both sides… because of the situation in Middle East.

As a director and writer I found this story had all the best elements a director is looking for: complex characters, complicated relationships, a wonderfully picturesque location, international and local politics, a story that was a mixture of optimism and pessimism, or as a distinguished Arab writer (Emil Habibi) once called it: “opssimism", possibly the best approach to survival in the region… This story even had a modest statement about the human condition in our region, perhaps the condition of all humanity today. And since every director hopes his film will contribute towards a bit more understanding, a bit more compassion, a bit more tolerance or in the case of the Middle East conflict, merely a bit more patience... I decided it was a story I want to tell.

I spent three years traveling to the Golan Heights, meeting the people, learning the history, getting to know the political, social and personal situation of the Druze in the Golan, taking a deeper look in to a region haunted by years of war and hate. To further explore the complex story of women torn between family, tradition and borders, I joined forces with Palestinian-Israeli scriptwriter Suha Arraf who was chosen for her knowledge of the Arab (and Druze) world while maintaining a modern, progressive point of view.

The Syrian Bride is about physical, mental and emotional borders and the will to cross them. It is about a family on the brink of disintegration trying to cope with its ability to define boundaries and deal with them – focusing on the bride's older sister Amal, an oppressed woman who comes out of her sister's wedding day with an uncertain future but certainly with a hope for change. In and around this family there is both affinity and alienation, all around them people and forces are at work with vastly differing degrees of understanding and sensitivity, or lack thereof. The events and decisions that must be made envelop what should have been the happiest moment in a family's life with a cloak of uncertainty and misapprehension, leaving them caught in a perpetual trap in and around the border.

The Syrian Bride is about facing and crossing borders, a story about people who play a part in a huge tableau, set in such a small and God-forsaken place, a story made with love: love of freedom, love for the spirit of freedom, love for the physical and emotional landscapes that surround us, all of us. A love and appreciation for women who fight for their place in the world, a love for people who still dream and hope – here, across the border, everywhere in fact."

Eran Riklis
Mona’s wedding day is the saddest day of her life. Once she crosses the border between Israel and Syria to marry Syrian TV star Tallel, she will never be allowed back to her family in Majdal Shams, a Druze village in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.
The Syrian Bride is the story of Mona’s wedding day at the border, a wedding starting at 5:00am and ending in the late afternoon. The Syrian Bride is the story of a family torn apart over questions of tradition, politics and prejudice: the tough, political father, the playboy brother, the outcast elder brother, and Amal, the elder sister, a modern woman trapped in a culture and tradition she wants to break out of. At the end of a long day they all realise that once you cross the border there is no way back.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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