For her film, Nezouh, Syrian director Soudade Kaadan won the Armani Beauty Audience Awards at the Venice Film Festival. The Audience Award is given to the best film in the Orizzonti Extra section, now in its second year. It’s a competitive category devoted to new trends in international cinema.
Kaadan’s film Nezouh is about Mutaz, who refuses to leave Damascus even as bombs drop and instead chooses to live as a refugee. Zeina, his daughter, and Hala, his wife, must choose to stay or leave. The film blends feminist fairytale with real-life drama and humanizes a family’s struggle.
“It is only after the bombing started in our neighborhood in Damascus that I left the house with my sister,” Kaadan says in a director’s statement featured on Venice Film Festival’s website. “Damascene society was conservative, even in liberal families. With the new wave of displacement, it became normal (for the first time) to see young Damascene women living alone and separating from their families.”
Syrian actors Samer Al Masri and Kinda Alloush are featured in the French, UK, and Syria-co-produced Arabic-language movie. The film also features newcomers Hala Zein and Nizar Alani.
“Proud to announce for the second time, my second fiction feature film won in Venice, and this time it is the audience @armanibeauty award,” Kaadan wrote on Instagram. She won Lion of the Future for 2018’s The Day I Lost My Shadow at the Venice Film Festival.
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