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Cinema of Syria

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Title: Cinema of Syria  
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Subject: Somaliwood, Cinema of Morocco, Cinema of Odisha, Cinema of Djibouti, Cinema of Lebanon
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Cinema of Syria

Cinema of Syria
A movie theatre in Aleppo
Number of screens 5 (2011)[1]
 • Per capita <0.1 per 100,000 [1]
Main distributors Alfardos Drama 25.0%[2]
Produced feature films (2011)[3]
Fictional 4
Animated -
Documentary 1



In 1908, the first film ever screened in Syria was shown at a cafe in Aleppo. Eight years later, the Ottoman administration established the first film theater, in Damascus. The theater was inaugurated by the Ottoman governor, Jamal Pasha; however, it was burned down one month later. The French assumed mandate over Syria at the time, and many theaters were subsequently built in Damascus. The first Syrian film was Al Muttaham al Baree (The Innocent Suspect), a silent black-and-white feature released in 1928.[5] The film was written, directed and produced by Rasheed Jalal, in association with Ahmed Tello. The crew set another precedent by forming the first Syrian production company: Hermon Film. In 1934, the second silent black-and-white film, Tahta Sama' Dimashq (Under the Damascus Sky), was released, coinciding with the Egyptian musical talkie, Unshudat al Fuad (Hymn of the Heart). The Syrian film became a commercial failure, as it was overshadowed by Unshudat al Fuad's success.[4]

In 1947, Nazih Shabandar established a production studio filled with equipment he created. The following year, he produced the first Syrian talkie, Nur wa Thalam (Light and Darkness), written by Mohamed Shamel and Ali el-Arna'ut. The film was also significant because it featured several rising Syrian stars: Rafiq Shukri, Yevett Feghli, and Anwar el Baba.[4]

Film production improved during the 1950s, but was still hindered by lackluster distribution. The 1960s saw significant improvements with Doreid Lahham and Nuhad al-Qala'i, a comedic duo, generating higher profit margins than their predecessors. Their first film was Aqd al-Lulu (Necklace of Pearls), released in 1965. Aqd al-Lulu was the first in a tightly linked series of comedy films from the duo. Thanks to ample profits, they were able to produce films at a rate of two per year.[4]

The 1960s also marked a period of transition for Syrian film-making. In 1963, the General Organization for Cinema was established as an arm of the Ministry of Culture to oversee the production and distribution of Syrian films. Due to the deaths of Arabs in the [4]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Table 6: Share of Top 3 distributors (Excel)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Table 1: Feature Film Production - Genre/Method of Shooting". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Paradoxes of Syrian Cinema".  
  5. ^ "Arab Cinema beginnings and landmarks". Film Encyclopedia. Advameg Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 

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