Omar Amiralay 1944-2011
A Plate of Sardines (1997)
This short documentary tells Amiralay’s own story about how he first heard of Israel. In his own words, “The first time I heard of Israel, it was in Beirut, talking about a sardine dish. I was 6 years old, Israel was 2.” On 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War, Quneitra came under Israeli control. The city was completely destroyed. It now lies in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria and is populated by only a handful of families. Israel was heavily criticized by the United Nations for the city’s destruction, while Israel has also criticized Syria for not rebuilding Quneitra.
The film records Amiralay’s filmmaker friend Mohamed Malas’ reflections on his native city of Quneitra, before and after the Israeli-occupation and later liberation of the city. Malas made a film about Quneitra himself in the seventies. All the while, the two filmmaking friends are strolling around the ruins of what’s left of Quneitra in south-western Syria and comment on the devastation left there.
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