Taste of Cement 15+, unless accompanied by an adult
Winner – Best Film, Visions du Réel, Switzerland
A dream-like documentary about the nightmare of exile, Taste of Cement takes us into the lives of Syrian construction workers in Beirut. Virtually imprisoned on the site of a skyscraper and with extremely limited access to news from home, these refugee labourers are creating a majestic structure while their own houses and cities are being obliterated. Without any traditional talking head interviews, exiled Syrian filmmaker Ziad Kalthoum has created a beautiful film about almost unimaginable hardship.
Director Ziad Kalthoum | Producer Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert | Editor Alex Bakri, Frank Brummundt | Cinematographer Talal Khoury
Ziad Kalthoum was born in Homs in 1981 and graduated after studies in film. He has worked as an assistant director on several films, series and television programmes, including Mohammad Malas’s ‘Ladder to Damascus’ (2013). In 2011, he directed his first short documentary, ‘Oh, My Heart’ (2011), which was selected for the Carthage Film Festival. Kalthoum’s first feature-length documentary ‘The Immortal Sergeant’ (2013), deals with the schizophrenic daily life and encounters he experiences between his mandatory military service in the Syrian Army and his role as assistant director during the shooting of ‘Ladder to Damascus’. ‘The Immortal Sergeant’ was screened at the Locarno Film Festival in 2014 and the Fribourg International Film Festival in 2015.