on the edge of my shadow

Feature Documentary by Ziad Kalthoum / In Development


Muzaffar sits with his camera in front of the window of his small apartment. It is located on the 11th floor and offers a view of the valley of Rouen. Equipped with a telephoto lens, he waits motionless until the cry of a seagull is heard, and he pulls the trigger. He has developed an obsession with birds and especially seagulls. Muzaffar knows what makes him hide behind his window. He calls it "the BlackBox," his hard drive with over 3000 photographs from Aleppo. These photos haunt him, and they have become a taboo object over the years. Nevertheless, he has to face his demons. 


Having to publish a new book on his photographs from Aleppo, he finally decides to explore his Black Box. In a close-up of his eyes, the photos from Aleppo are reflected dimly. Then, he begins to print some pictures and paste them on his wall. This performance of visualizing acts like a catharsis. B/W photos of war, destruction, and suffering cover the wall, and in the middle hangs a color photo of Muzaffar and his wife Rana. 


During this process, Muzzafar receives an invitation to the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Prize for war correspondents. At the festival, he walks through the exhibition of war photographs. The show almost appears to aestheticize and celebrate war. Muzaffar is visibly irritated and disturbed. Finally, the cry of a seagull lures him out into the open. 


On the beach at Bayeux, Muzaffar walks toward a rusted World War II boat. The screaming of the seagulls becomes deafeningly loud. Finally, it seems that Muzaffar has found the source of the screams. As if they were coming from the vent of the rusty monster all along.


The war remains omnipresent even in his new home. Indeed crimes have also taken place here, 80 years ago. So Muzaffar's long process of overcoming the traumatic images of his past begins, and Europe's war history is revealed in absurd ways. 


Supported by BKM German Cultural Fund, La Scam, AFAC - Arab Fund for Arts and Culture & Berlinair / Film Residencies