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Activities - 18/02/2017

 

INSYRIATED wins Europa Cinemas Berlinale Label

 

INSYRIATED, directed by Belgian director Philippe van Leeuw, has won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Panorama section, it was announced today by a jury of four exhibitors from the network, the thirteenth time the Label has been awarded in Berlin. INSYRIATED will now benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for network cinemas to include it in their programme schedule.

The Label Jury consisted of Alice Black, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (UK); Pierre-Alexandre Moreau, Cinémas Studio, Tours (France); Monica Naldi, Cinema Beltrade, Milano (Italy) and Feliks Wagner, Neues Off Kino, Berlin (Germany).

The jury issued the following statement: "INSYRIATED could not be more vital and topical, and an entirely appropriate winner of the Label. The film takes place in a Damascus apartment, and we see the micro society in the apartment trying to deal with the horrors of the war in Syria raging outside by clinging on to the reassuring domestic routines of life. Despite its very specific setting, though, the film will give European audiences the opportunity to experience the devastation and moral dilemmas that ordinary people experience in a war situation. The performances, camerawork and editing are especially strong and contribute particularly to this immersive and visceral film."

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The film is sold internationally by Films Boutique

Philippe Van Leeuw is both director and screenwriter, with Virginie Surdej as the Cinematographer, Gladys Joujou the Editor, music composed by Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Sound by Chadi Roukoz, Sound Design by Paul Heymans, Olivier Mortier, Alek Gosse, and Costumes by Kathy Lebrun. The Producers are Guillaume Malandrin and Serge Zeitoun with co-producers Tomas Leyers, Pierre Sarraf, Philippe Logie, Olivier Bronckart, and Jacques Henri Bronckart.

The film is produced by Altitude 100 (Belgium) and Liaison Cinematographique (France), a French/Belgian co-production between Minds Meet, Brussels, Né à Beyrouth, Beirut, Versus Production, Brussels, Voo, and Be Tv, Brussels. 

Energetic Oum Yazan is trying desperately to keep together her family life whilst outside a war is raging. The family sits together around a large table at midday, everyone trying to make themselves heard above the cannonade of bombs and machine gun fire. There is hardly any water and every trip outside the door spells danger on account of the snipers on the rooftops above. While Grandfather plays with his little grandchild, the oldest daughter flirts with her boyfriend in her room. Next door a young couple with a baby are planning their escape. Up above, threatening noises can be heard. Who's that knocking at the door? Could it be Oum Yazan's husband whose return she has been anxiously awaiting, or are there strange men outside, looking for valuables? Just a few shots are necessary to draw the viewer into the permanent state of emergency that is war. The apartment that was once a familiar home has now become a prison. Philippe Van Leeuw's huis clos describes people in an extreme situation that gives rise to extreme behaviour. Every decision could be a matter of life or death: is it morally acceptable to sacrifice one member of the family to guarantee the survival of the others?

Philippe Van Leeuw was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1954. He currently lives in Paris. He studied at the INSAS film school in Brussels and then moved to Los Angeles to study cinematography at the American Film Institute where his teachers included Sven Nykvist and Conrad Hall. After returning to Europe, he was cinematographer on various documentaries and commercials. His first feature film as a cinematographer was La vie de Jésus (The Life of Jesus) by Bruno Dumont in 1997. Since then he has switched to directing fiction with The Day God Walked Away being his debut film as a director.

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