Experiencing Interruptions?


Salam is a docu-fiction that retraces the ordinary afternoon of a Syrian woman. In the intimacy of her home, Salam reveals the difficult journey of discovering her sexuality in a conservative society. The film is based on an interview with a real Syrian woman.

  • Raed Rafei
  • Raed Rafei
  • Rania Rafei
  • Rawya El Chab
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2016
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fribourg International Film Festival
    April 6, 2017
    World Premiere
    Best International Short Film
Distribution Information
    Country: Syrian Arab Republic
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Raed Rafei

Raed Rafei is a Lebanese filmmaker, writer and multimedia journalist. For over ten years, he has worked for local and international publications as a reporter and blogger covering political, social and economic issues related to Lebanon and the Middle East. He also worked as a researcher and field producer on many TV reports and documentaries for Al-Jazeera, CNN and ARTE.
His filmography includes: 74 (The Reconstitution of a Struggle) (90 mins) (2012) and Eccomi … Eccoti (Here I am … Here you are) (70 mins) (2016).

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Director Statement

How do we give voice and body to a “testimony” in an archive? Can a voice (among so many voices) from the past bring meaning and life to a personal story when embodied in a filmic character?
In 2016, I started working with a Syrian feminist group, Estayqazat (She awakened), to create a short film/video based on a long series of interviews with Syrian women about their bodies and sexualities. This oral history archive built over several years of research was gathered to reflect the collectively diverse voice of Syrian women exploring, defining and re-defining their bodies. The archive is, in a way, a map of the body of the Syrian woman with its shifting desires and its contested/negotiated terrains of sovereignty and subjugation.
My project was to work on a series of extensive voice interviews with one of the women and turn that recorded material into a film. I was given access to a disembodied voice, that of a woman, presented to me as Salam (not her real name). The identity of the interviewees was concealed to protect them and insure their privacy and anonymity.
I was captivated by Salam’s assertive personality, the defiance in her voice, her coy-yet-confident intonations. Her story was that of a woman who challenged the rigid patriarchal codes of her society. Yet, hers was not the conventional story of the oppressed Arab woman. There was agency in Salam and her story. I was attracted by that agency and the narrative ambiguities it allowed for at a time when the Syrian woman or subject is denied originality. The result of my work was a reflection over the lines between documentary and fiction in film that gave rise to Salam, an 18-minute film.