Between 2009 and 2011, I filmed in Syria. Reconnecting the threads of a family memory that goes back to the French Mandate, I connect with families in Palmyra. Then came the Revolution, then the violent repression of the regime which plunged the country into war and forced me to stop filming. A few years later, I take my camera back to find these people to whom I had said "see you soon".
Dir. Lucas Vernier - 94min - 2020 - France
"Film-maker Lucas Vernier’s grandfather was a member of the méhariste – the camel cavalry – during the French mandate in Syria, and Vernier traces his footsteps by embarking on his own journey to the Badia desert in 2009. Determined to revisit the places captured in his grandfather’s sprawling archive, Vernier’s documentary lends a tangible vitality to his family history. Once frozen in the frames of black-and-white photos, the Syrian soldiers who served in the camel corps live on in the memories of their descendants; their recollections evoke the open-hearted spirit of the film’s title, a traditional greeting in Arabic." - Guardian
"The journey is simple, the welcomes warm...The destruction of the country happens so quickly that the filmmaker’s images become precious archives. Where can we find the currently inaccessible Syria whose roads now lie in ruins?" - Cinema du Reel