After touring the festivals, the film “The Translator”, directed by Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf, hits theaters on October 13, 2021.
It’s a liberating film for directors Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf, but also enlightening for viewers. The translator tells the story of Sami who, in 2000, was the translator for the Syrian Olympic team in Sydney. But a slip of the tongue during the translation forces him to stay in Australia. He then obtains the status of political refugee. When, in 2011, the Syrian revolution breaks out and Sami’s brother is arrested during a peaceful demonstration, he decides to return to Syria to free him, even if it means risking his life there. There he discovers a country plagued by war.
The translator brings a universal dimension to the situation in Syria. He humanizes his hero, and his story, as singular as it is, opens the eyes of the spectators. From start to finish, Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf remain at the height of the main character played by Ziad Bakri. “We wish to recall what happened even before Daesh. We have a duty to remember”, explains Rana Kazkaz. A witness film that we have deciphered with its directors.
Like Sami, the directors of the film “The Translator” have left Syria
The film The translator is an almost true story. After having participated in the first moments of the Syrian revolution, the couple of directors Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf left their country of origin, Syria. Despite a disagreement between them, Rana Kazkaz was the first to leave, with their children, in 2011. A year later, Anas Khalaf joined them. “We felt an obligation to create a film that speaks of this moment. It was also an opportunity to communicate between us because we were not on good terms after what we had gone through. We wanted to make a film. which testifies to what is happening there through fiction “, they explain to us by also evoking the guilt of Sami, haunted, like the duo, in the past.
“The Translator” is the first fictional feature film on the Syrian revolution
This is a first in the cinema. With The translator, Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf deliver the first fictional feature film that evokes the Syrian revolution. It is thus one of the rare films to alert on the situation of the country where the war has left nearly half a million dead and millions of refugees.es And the choice to make a feature film rather than a documentary is no accident. “We are fiction directors and, although we like documentaries a lot, we believe that the identification through fictional characters is done more”, tells us Anas Khalaf. “Fiction helps us understand reality. Fiction allows viewers another path to enter a situation with, we hope, more subtlety and more compassion.”, adds Rana Kazkaz.
In “The Translator”, women have a primordial place in the film
If the hero of the film is a man, women have a primordial place in The translator. For example, when Sami returns to Syria, it is his sister-in-law who remained there who opens his eyes to the horror of the situation. “It was important for our translator that her sister-in-law gave him eyes. She is the one who sheds the most light on his absence and all that has changed. She allows him to see things more clearly, to see the truth in the face, and this is also the case of spectateur.ice.s “, explains Rana Kazkaz. Moreover, the fact that this female character is an ophthalmologist is not trivial. “President Bashar Al-Assad studied ophthalmology before becoming president”, explains Anas Khalaf. A film where nothing is left to chance and even less for the female secondary characters who are, in the end, crucial in Sami’s initiatory journey, back in his country of origin.
The main actor, Ziad Bakri, is grandiose
Ziad Bakri carries the film with a delicacy and fragility that leaves no one indifferent. Moreover, this is not the first time that the actor has worked with the directors of the film. The translator. In 2016, he starred in their short film Mare Nostrum, which toured 130 festivals and received 39 international awards. A second collaboration with this talented actor who already put the Syrian crisis at the heart of his story and is proof that the cinema of Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf is deeply militant. “We are still clinging to this tiny hope that things may change. The future is very dark for Syria, it is a very traumatized people. This film is for citizens, it is not not for power “, they confide to us, happy to have collaborated again with Ziad Bakri.
The translator, directed by Rana Kazkaz & Anas Khalaf, is released in theaters this Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
Article produced in partnership with Alba Films.
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