Purple Sea

Purple Sea© Purple Sea
US Premiere! Available to watch for a streaming rental fee of $8

Documentary, 2020, 67 min, digital
Original title: Das Purpurmeer
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Directors: Amel Alzakout & Khaled Abdulwahed

“When the boat on which she was crossing to Europe capsized off the coast of Lesbos, Syrian artist Amel Alzakout recorded the events using a waterproof camera strapped to her wrist. Co-directed with filmmaker Khaled Abdulwahed, Purple Sea is assembled from the extraordinary images captured during the period she and the other passengers spent trapped in the water. Adrift on the open sea, time seems to stand still as – beyond the chaos and a chorus of cries – a terrible calm descends. Alzakout poignantly narrates her perilous journey, and her poetic commentary feeds into a confrontational psychological reflection on this moment of personal crisis and collective tragedy.” –Open City Documentary Festival
“Alzakout recorded her journey to share with her partner Abdulwahed upon their reunion in Europe, but the shipwreck footage proved difficult for each to process. […] For Alzakout, it was not only painful to relive the trauma, but to see herself unwittingly captured as an image of helplessness, one that could fall into sensationalist mainstream portrayals of migrants as victims. Missing from such depictions are the internal lives of these figures, the universe of thoughts and experiences contained within each of them. How to make this image of herself hers again? Alzakout answers by employing a voiceover narration that composes a space of consciousness within the footage, alternately resisting and augmenting its sensational qualities. […] Rather than diminish the raw force of the viewing experience, the narration intensifies the sense of presentness. As the incident releases Alzakout’s verbal stream of deeply individual recollections, the camera drifts amidst a sea of floating bodies, each the vessel for countless other individual accounts of what it is to be human.” –Kevin B. Lee

Price: $8 
Availability: NY, NJ, CT only