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by Ziad Kalthoum


In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 19.00. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life. After The Immortal Sergeant, Ziad Khaltoum composes an excruciating essay on what it means to live in exile in a war-torn world with no possibilities to return home. Precise camera framing, unorthodox editing, and dreamlike narrative detours are the trademarks of a daring, imaginative and visually challenging cinematographic work.

international title: Taste of Cement
original title: Taste of Cement
country: Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
sales agent: Syndicado (US)
year: 2017
genre: documentary
directed by: Ziad Kalthoum
film run: 85'
cinematography by: Talal Khoury
producer: Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert, Christin Luettich
production: Basis Berlin Filmproduktion, Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts (SY)
backing: Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Doha Film Institute, Screen Institute Beirut

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Visions du Réel 2017Competition, Sesterce d’or

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