A Flood in Baath Country + Step by Step

Oslo Dokumentarkino and Syrian Peace Action Centre presents Syrian Doc Days. Part one: Public Theaters of Humilitation.

The film A Flood in Baath Country from 2003 zooms in on a Syrian village that represents a microcosm of the Baath party and their rule. The leaders promised socialism but instead introduced a strict autocracy that forced people into submission through brutal force, indoctrination and systematic humiliation that started in primary schools. Step by Step is an experimental documentary film from 1978, by Osama Mohammed, that shows the harsh reality of the dictatorship and the consequences for people and society.

Between and after the films, Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed, director of Step by Step, and Kjetil Selvik will talk about the Syrian society and how it is to make films under a dictatorship.

A Flood in Baath Country

Omar Amiralay, France 2004, 47 min.

A Flood in Baath Country from 2004 is the last film of a trilogy by Omar Amiralay about the Syrian Baath Party (the party of the Assad regime) and one of the regime’s prestige projects: the construction of the Tabqa Dam in the Euphrates valley. The two first films were made in 1970 and 1974.

In A Flood in Baath Country he returns to the valley that is now home to Lake Assad. In the village of Al Mashi, he finds the perfect microcosm of the Baath Party regime, which promised socialism but instead introduced a strict autocracy in which old tribal structures were preserved.

Step by Step

Ossama Mohammed, Syria 1978. 23 min.

Step by Step is a reflection of the foundations of Syrian society under Assad rule. Ten years before filmmaker Ossama Mohammed received international recognition with Stars in Broad Daylight (1988) and 36 years before his award winning film Silvered Water - Syria Self Portrait 2014), he captured the dire state of Syria in this short documentary.

Through the film’s experimental style, a harsh reality bubbles ever closer to the surface. The apparently harmonious countryside turns out to be strict, choking and violent. The effects of this are clearly demonstrated as a soldier talks about his childhood, in between the impressions of village life. Freedom and innocence have made way for a disturbing, fanatical loyalty to the state.


Ossama Mohammed, award-winning film director, and senior researcher at NUPI Kjetil Selvik will be present. Zeina Bali fra SPACE will introduce and host the event.

Syrian Doc Days is organized by Oslo Dokumentarkino, in collaboration with Syrian Peace Action Centre (SPACE).

Teknisk informasjon om filmen A Flood in Baath Country + Step by Step
Attributt Verdi
Spilletid 1t 10m (70 minutter)
Produsert Frankrike og Syria 2004
Regi Omar Amiralay - Ossama Mohammed
Tale Diverse
Tekst Engelsk
Aldersgrense 15 år
Visningsformat DCP