A film showing the impact of the civil war in Syria on a family brought audiences to tears at the Berlin Film Festival.
'Insyriated' is shot almost entirely inside the walls of an apartment that becomes like a prison for Oum Yazan, a mother determined to survive a war whose brutality is conveyed mostly through the sounds of bombs and sniper gunfire.
Van Leeuw said it was in 2013 he decided he had to use his ability as a filmmaker to show what life in Syria had become.
“I just decided that I really wanted to open a window on the suffering of these people that were trapped in there, without any means of defending or doing anything else but trying to go on a day by day basis.''
The film forces viewers to ask themselves how they would act in the same situation.
Belgian director Philippe Van Leeuw said the silence that followed the screening at the Berlinale on Sunday as well as seeing some of his actors and members of the audience in tears at the end made him think he's achieved his purpose:
''Job done. Because that's what we want, we want to create an emotion that is relating to the suffering of ordinary people and their ability never the less to remain in a dignity of their own,'' he told Reuters.
“Somehow the silence after the screening of people said it all. I myself was speechless after because, because of the hardness of the movie and because of the subject of it,” said actress Hiam Abbass, who plays Oum Yazan.
“It brought people close to the Syrian people,” she added in Arabic.
Sentiments echoed by her co-star Juliette Navis. ''This is what I like about this movie. It's really the inside point of view, of just a family with no man, just a woman, a woman and kids struggling to survive in this kind of situation. It's not about a number of refugees, it's about humanity, yeah, how the human... It humanizes maybe some things, well the war, that is not just about numbers.''
''Insyriated'' screened in the Panorama section of the Berlinale and is not competing in the competition.