As If We Were Catching a Cobra

Hala Alabdalla, United Arab Emirates / Syria / France, 2012, color, HDcam, 122'

Inspired by events surrounding the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Syrian filmmaker Hala Alabdalla interviews political cartoonists in Egypt and Syria about the tension caused by their work. What starts as a documentary about cartoons in the Middle East takes another turn when the Arab Spring arrives in both countries. From her studio in Paris, Alabdalla makes additional comments on the events in voice-over. The cartoonists talk at length about the tradition of political illustrations, their battle with censorship and their struggles to keep irony and rebellion alive under authoritarian regimes. After the protests, the director gets in touch with them again, asking them in what way the revolution has influenced their lives and work. Some of them actively participated in the protests and didn't come away unscathed. They reflect on their fears, the dangers of the uprising and the euphoria that came with the sudden freedom of expression. The interviews are combined with personal scenes of Alabdalla as she follows the revolution through social media, on her computer screen back in Paris.


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