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by MONIKA BORGMANN & LOKMAN SLIM | Feature documentary | 2016 | France-Switzerland-Lebanon-Qatar-United Arab Emirates | 103 min | color

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"Eight former Lebanese detainees recall the years they spent in Syria’s notorious Tadmor Prison. There, the systematic torture has just one goal: the physical and psychological destruction of the detainees. In Tadmor, the men tell a story of shared suffering. Yet each man has a unique perspective and a particular set of experiences; only he knows the secret to his own survival. In Tadmor, the men reenact their narratives physically, as words cannot fully describe the torture, pain, fear and humiliation they experienced.Tadmor tackles the issue of human capacities in the face of barbarism, resistance and termination.The film is an ode to the human ability to survive. A story of hope and survival."


Screenwriter: Monika Borgmann
Directors:  Monika Borgmann & Lokman Slim
Cinematography: Talal Khoury
Sound: Rawad Hobeika, Rayan Obeydine, Chadi Roukoz
Editing: Olivier Zuchuat
Sound editing: Benjamin Benoit
Mixing: Denis Séchaud
Color grading: Yov Moor
Original music: Pierre Jodlowski
Producers: Philippe Avril, Gabriela Bussmann, Monika Borgmann

Commissioning editor: Irène Challand

Co-production: Les Films de l'Étranger (France) - GoldenEgg Production (Switzerland) - UMAM Productions (Lebanon) - in association with RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, SRG SSR, Unlimited
Supports: Office Fédéral de la Culture de Berne, Aide aux Cinémas du Monde - CNC/Institut Français, AFAC - The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, SANAD-twofour54, Doha Film Institute, Région Alsace, Strasbourg Eurometropolis, Cineforom, Fondation George Reinhart, Fondation "Films pour un seul monde", UMAM Research & documentation

                         •   World Premiere: Visions du Réel, Switzerland, April 2016:

                              Awards : Silver Sesterce SRG SSR

                              and Special mention from the Jury
                           • LatinArab Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                           • Adana Film Festival, Turkey
• Festival War on Screen, Châlons-en-Champagne, France
• FilmFest Hamburg, Germany:

  Political Film award from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
• Days of Cinema - Film Lab Palestine, Ramallah, Palestine
• Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic
• JCC - Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, Tunisia
• Festival International du Film d’Histoire de Pessac, France:

  Bernard-Landier Prize
• Mostra ForumDoc, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
• Rencontres internationales des cinémas arabes Aflam, Marseille, France
• Human Rights Festival Zurich (opening night), Switzerland 

Jury Award - 6th Night of the Mabrouk, Lebanon, Sept. 2017






One of the most impressive, astute and courageous films that we have seen in the last years (Jury, Filmfest Hamburg, 08.10.2016)

The subject matter itself of Tadmor is resistance. In this case the protagonists are former prisoners of the most infamous of Syrian prisons, Tadmor prison near Palmyra, where for years, Bashar-al-Assad’s regime interned political prisoners, subjecting them to humiliation and torture. A group of these former Lebanese prisoners tries to shake off the crippling effect this experience had on them, by portraying the torture they had to endure. (…) For me, the mission of art is to throw up questions, to make human beings constantly call things into question. Film exists as testimony to the resistance of human beings, to draw it out of them. It’s not a question of ideology, it’s a question of fighting for humanity. (Cineuropa, Interview with Luciano Barisone, 12.04.2016)

Called the “kingdom of death and madness” by the poet Faraj Bayraqdar, the infamous prison of Tadmor (Syria) was destroyed by Islamic State forces during the conquest of Palmyra in 2015. Lebanese political opponents to the Syrian regime were also imprisoned there. In this film, eight of them recount and stage the horrors they have seen and suffered. Their remembrance is distressed by horrible memories of the time spent in this place of torture and humiliation. Reliving them within an almost theatrical staging, acted out by themselves, is an act of accusation as well as a liberating therapy. Here is a surprising film that makes a strong impression through the power of the speech, the simple plasticity of the images and the distressing resignation of the bodies filmed. (, April 2016)

Tadmor: Beyond horror towards the light (...) Tadmor is the extraordinarily brave testimonial of a group of men trying to rediscover the part of humanity they lost within the walls of that prison, (...) driven by one single force: survival. (...) The camera is transformed into a weapon, a carrier of truth and a blazing torch used to light up the life that still resonates through the bodies of the few people that have survived Tadmor Prison. With their courage, the eight protagonists of the film by Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim make an extraordinary accusation that rings out from Lebanon across the whole world. Therapy through images that speak directly to our consciences. A necessary and brave film, the likes of which we would like to see more. (Cineuropa, Giorgia Del Don, 22 avril 2016)


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