Taste of Cement
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    Taste of Cement

    Directed by

    Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar


    85 min

    • Arabic


    In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 19.00. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life. After The Immortal Sergeant, Ziad Khaltoum composes an excruciating essay on what it means to live in exile in a war-torn world with no possibilities to return home. Precise camera framing, unorthodox editing, and dreamlike narrative detours are the trademarks of a daring, imaginative and visually challenging cinematographic work.


    Show All Awards Show Less Awards
    • Best Feature Film - Visions du Réel
    • Documentary Special Mention Award - Valletta FF
    • New Waves Jury Prize - Roche-sur-Yon FF
    • Biberstein Gusmão Award - Porto/Post/Doc
    • Best Non-Fiction Feature - Dubai IFF
    • Flinders University International Documentary Award - Adelaide FF
    • Best Film, Audience Award - FICUNAM




    A powerful film full of hope that left no one indifferent.

    Giorgia del Don, Cineuropa

    An efficient exploration of the deep scars that the past and the life lived as a refugee leave on the soul

    Stefan Dobroiu, Cineuropa

    Ziad Kalthoum

    Ziad Kalthoum


    Whenever war breaks out, this means that all kind of communication between humans has come to an end. But I realize that I can create a new language that speaks to people through cinema.

    Ziad Kalthoum is a Syrian filmmaker who started filming his first medium length movie (OH, MY HEART) in 2009, about a story of a group of Kurdish women who lived in a village without men for political and social reasons. The film was banned from the screening in Syria because it is not allowed to talk about Kurdish society. It was considered as the first film to speak about the Kurds of Syria. In 2012 he began filming his feature film THE IMMORTAL SERGEANT when he was a soldier in compulsory military service at the same time of the outbreak of the Syrian revolution. The film premiered at Locarno Film Festival, and he won the Best Film Award at the BBC Arabic Film Festival. In 2013, after defecting from the Syrian army and refusing to fight against his own people, he fled to Beirut and began filming TASTE OF CEMENT that won the Best Film Award at the Visions du réel 2017 and has been nominated for the Best European Film Award at DOC ALLIANCE AWARD 2017.

    Selected Filmography