Syria in its Own Image,interview with Mohammad Ali Atassi by Grace Bello


Mohammad Ali Atassi’s new documentary about Syria, Our Terrible Country, (Baladna Alraheeb) defines itself by what it is not. It is not a tutorial on the Syrian civil war. It is not a macabre spectacle of bodies, victims of either the Assad regime or ISIS. Instead, it’s a portrait of two very different faces of the Syrian left—one, the film’s co-director Ziad Homsi, a young filmmaker turned soldier in the Free Syrian Army; and the other, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, a former political prisoner and a writer and intellectual. Together, they embark on a tripartite journey from the wreckage of Douma, to... more

Article in the New York times "When a Revolt Goes Wrong" by ANNE BARNARD


BEIRUT, Lebanon — In the early scenes of the Syrian documentary “Our Terrible Country,” the leftist writerYassin al-Haj Saleh explores the ruins of a rebellious Damascus suburb, his clean-shaven face, Lenin-style cap and pristine clothes marking him as a recent arrival from the mostly intact government-controlled downtown. The camera and the man behind it, a young photographer and sometime insurgent calling himself Ziad al-Homsi, approach Mr. Saleh with reverence. It is mid-2013, two years into Syria’s revolt. Hopes for easy victory over President Bashar al-Assad are long gone, yet Mr. Saleh still has far more skin in the game than his peers,... more

Article about "our terrible country" in the Artforum by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie


IN THE SUMMER OF 2013, the Syrian writer Yassin al-Haj Saleh took a dangerous journey from the rebel-held city of Douma to his hometown of Raqqa, now the headquarters of the so-called Islamic State, across the border to southern Turkey and on to Istanbul. One of the foremost intellectuals of his generation and widely considered the sage of the Syrian revolution (hakim al-thawra), Haj Saleh had been in hiding for two years. When he won a Prince Claus Award in 2012, he delivered his acceptance speech—an eloquent response to the twinned questions: why revolt and why write—from an undisclosed location in Damascus. “I... more

Syria, “Our terrible country” and our disappointment with the West, by Graham Douglas


  The well-known Syrian writer and intellectual Yassin Haj Saleh left his home in Douma, met up with two film-maker friends in Raqqa, and all three continued to Turkey, filming their journey as they went. Yassin’s wife Samira remained behind, until Yassin could return for her – she has since been abducted.    Graham Douglas    Ziad Homsi has known Yassin since Yassin moved to Douma, and together with his friend Mohammed Ali Atassi, the two film-makers accompanied Yassin on this journey, searching for a safe route by which to return for Samira.    Yassin al Haj Saleh is a prominent intellectual and dissident, who was imprisoned... more

About Bidayyat's films production on "Voice of America" by Heather Murdock


Syrian filmmakers are touring European film festivals this week, screening "Our Terrible Country," a film that explores an intergenerational friendship amid kidnappings, war and exile.    In this documentary, a young man named Ziad laughs with his white-haired companion, Yassin. They are in Turkey, having fled Syria after Ziad was captured and tortured by Islamic State militants. Yassin is in exile, fearing both the government and the Islamic State.   The film is not about what happened in the past, said its director, Ali Atassi.  It was happening as they were shooting. "I did stop shooting when Ziad was arrested by the Islamic State," Atassi... more

About "Our Terrible Country"in the"Entorno Inteligente"


    Correio Popular / 'Nosso Terrível País', de Mohamed Ali Atassi e Ziad Homsi, é antes de tudo, o que se pode chamar de filme necessário. Não pensamos muito na arte do cinema nem na linguagem ou qualquer detalhe estético. Estamos simplesmente diante de um documento filmado com uma pequena câmera e com a urgência que dele se solicita. O documentário acompanha o escritor Yassin Haj Saleh em sua fuga da pequena Douma (Síria) na direção de Raqqa — região Norte do país —, de onde ele escapa para a Turquia. E, curiosamente, um dos diretores, o jovem Ziad, de 24... more

Our Terrible Country Bidayyat's full production film at the Daily Star By Jim Quilty


BEIRUT: “Daaesh.” Yassin Haj Saleh pauses as if the word, the Arabic acronym for ISIS, were a question in need of an answer. “It’s a fitting name,” he answers himself, “for a monster.” Haj Saleh is sitting in Douma, in the eastern Ghouta, some 10 kilometers from central Damascus. Several weeks later, he and Syrian filmmaker Ziad Homsi have made the journey from Douma to Raqqa. “Daaesh,” Haj Saleh says, three months and several hundred kilometers beyond Raqqa, is “ ... the cancerous growth of our revolution.” These remarks are recorded in “Our Terrible Country,” a documentary co-directed by Homsi and his countryman Mohammed Ali Atassi. The film had its... more

Spanish Article about Bidayyat's "Our Terrible Country


Ganadora del más importante premio en la reciente edición del Festival de Cine de Marsella, Our Terrible Country de Mohammed Ali Atassi y Ziad Homsi es el relato de un exilio en plena guerra de Siria, vigente y que viene cobrando cientos de víctimas ante la inoperancia internacional. El mayor valor de este documental hecho al alimón radica en la inmediatez, en registrar desde el corazón mismo de este conflicto el espíritu de reconstrucción y posibilidad de los habitantes que aún se resisten a abandonar zonas fantasmales, bombardeadas y dejadas en nada.   Los dos jóvenes cineastas apuestan en la primera media... more

About Bidayyat's full production "Our Terrible Country" in Italian


Corre l’anno 2013, la Siria è entrata nel terzo anno di guerra civile. Siamo a Douma, una città a nord est di Damasco, liberata dai ribelli che combattono il regime al governo, ma trasformata dai ripetuti bombardamenti in un monotono loop di echi e macerie, un deserto sotto assedio, dove sono in pochi a resistere. È qui che inizia Our Terrible Country, Siria Libano 2014, il documentario di Mohammed Ali Atassi e Ziad Homsi, presentato questo mese alla 25º edizione del FID – International Film Fest di Marsiglia. Vincitore della menzione speciale Espérance Prize, il documentario segue lo scrittore e dissidente Yassin al Haj Saleh,... more

"Our terrible country", A film by Mohammad Ali Atassi & Ziad Homsi


Our Terrible Country’ takes us on the perilous journey of Yassin Haj Saleh, a well-known Syrian intellectual and dissident, and the young photographer Ziad Homsi who travel together in an arduous and dangerous route from the liberated area of Douma/Damascus to Raqqa in northern Syria, only to find themselves eventually forced to leave their home country for a temporary exile in Turkey.   While Yassin was detained in 1980 at the age of twenty, and remained imprisoned for 16 years, he is also one of the few intellectuals who participated clandestinely in the Syrian uprising since its earliest days in 2011. However,... more