How do you tell completely authentic stories from Syria? Would former prisoners be able to reveal their deepest feelings to an interviewer? The Jordanian filmmaker Dalia Kury came up with a solution. For The Privacy of Wounds, she reconstructed a prison cell in a Norwegian cellar, in which three Syrian immigrants agree to be locked up. With unmanned cameras constantly filming them, they spend three days without daylight on thin mattresses, talking about their time in different Syrian prisons. They tell the most appalling stories: of the deaths of fellow prisoners, torture techniques, and a growing sense of being abandoned.
But this is no lamentation. The men have all been in the same boat, and there are some things they don’t need to explain to each other. What matters most isn’t so much theevents themselves but how they experienced them personally, and how they express this—through poetry, jokes, political discussions or personal anecdotes. In this intimacy born of shared experience lies the authenticity that Kury was seeking.