The film “The Two Migrants” by director Mohammad Abdelaziz, received the Gold Award for the best feature film, Saturday 15 November in the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival in the Netherlands.
Director Mohammad Abdelaziz in a telephone interview with Rozana, says of the film: "The Two Migrants was a theatrical play [The Émigrés, 1974] by Polish writer Sławomir Mrożek that was shown in 2008 in Damascus. It has been adapted into a film script."
Abdelaziz says that the film “tells the tale of two people living together in a European country. One is a politician looking for more freedom and a democratic climate; while the other is an ordinary worker. As part of their confessions to one another, the two characters arrive to a state of self-destruction, so to speak."
On the re-casting of the same actors who played the characters in theater, to perform the main roles in the film, Abdelaziz says: "This is not the first time I work with both actors, Samer Omran and Mohammed Al-Rashi.” He adds that they had already worked on the dissection of the characters, did the play readings, and they played them for more than 80 shows; which may be considered a sort of final rehearsal for the film itself.
Vis-a-vis the coincidence of the film with the current issue of Syrian refugees, the director explains that "the problematic tackled in the film is not about Syrian refugees; but rather about the of an individual distanced from his environment—whether it be the political intellectual, or the average worker. Both types can be found in most societies around the world; so can the dialectic between them, as well as the problems of integration.”
Abdelaziz points to the fact that "the play is by a Polish author who had escaped the grip of a totalitarian regime, much similar to regimes in the Arab world. It therefore sounds as if he were depicting Syria.”
As to the importance of the award, the director stresses that it is the true measure of the quality of [any] work of art. In the specific instance of his film, "The Two Migrants,” the "significance lies in the fact that the film comes from the Third World—and specifically from a country wherein a colossal war rages; amid scenes of a great exodus. The view of the mixed jury was of a film that achieves the necessary technical conditions, in addition to its theme which delves into the heart of both individual as well as general human issues."
At the end of the interview, Abdelaziz announced that the film will be screened in a private showing on the 31st November in Damascus, pending mass screening in movie theaters.