The 30-minute documentary ‘Morning fears, Night Chants’ from 2012 about a young Syrian songwriter touches upon a number of artsfreedom issues, such as the important role of artists during the Arabic revolutions, the threats and challenges they face and especially the extra challenges and censorship women artists face from family, religious groups and the regime.
Film review | By Shaima Aly
Female artists tend to have more pressures than men in the sense that they are actually fighting three wars at the same time:
The first is their own ‘feminism war’ – as expressed in the documentary: The songwriter wants to take part in the revolution and the demonstrations. Her second war as a citizen is a quest for freedom and liberty in a community being oppressed by the regime, a quest which is no different from the men’s. So she fights the regime. And the last war is being an artist and how to fight the restrictions and traditions and speak up in this patriarchal community.
The arts professional feminists in Syria eventually find themselves ‘between the hammers’ of the Bashar regime, the family restrictions and shackles, and the anvil of the Islamic rule.
“We were living in a big lie,” says the songwriter who decided to escape her “voluntary detention” and took off to see the real revolution in Deraa.
The setting of the documentary is interesting. It is dark. Most scenes are shot at night to express the songwriter’s secret revolutionary acts as an activist – and the fears they have during morning hours, which are also expressed in their emotional song-lyrics at night. It is an overwhelming situation.