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Syria documentary, Mali Jihad feature make Cannes current

Published on May 16, 2014 6:17 AM
(From left) Tunisian actor Hichem Yacoubi, Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako and Tunisian-born actor Abel Jafri pose as they arrive for the screening of their film Timbuktu at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is one of several to bring the chaos and barbarity of current events to the big screen. -- PHOTO: AFP

CANNES (REUTERS) - An old man's white hair suddenly changes to red in Eau Argentee, Syrie autoportrait (Silvered Water, Syria self-portrait) by exiled Syrian film-maker Ossama Mohammed, shown at the Cannes film festival on Thursday.

The amateur video may be shaky, grainy and lacking peripheral view, but the viewer instantly knows the man has just been shot in the head, another victim of the civil war in Syria that has already claimed more than 150,000 victims.

This and countless other images of the conflict are woven together in the documentary by Mohammed, who left his country in May 2011 for Paris over fears for his safety.

The film is brutal, visceral and hard to watch. "Since I left Syria, I've become a coward," Mohammed says in a voiceover.

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