Kazkaz's The Translator to premiere in France

October 06, 2021
The Translator, a feature film by Northwestern Qatar Professor Rana Kazkaz, is set to have its premiere at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, a day before its release in cinemas in France on October 13, 2021. The film has already been released in Switzerland and will be released in other parts of the world, including the United States, in early 2022.
The film follows the tale of a translator, Sami, who is living in exile in Australia. Haunted by feelings of guilt for having abandoned his family, Sami recognizes his responsibility to his country and family and returns to Syria to help free his activist brother, who has been arrested by the government at the outset of the revolution in 2011.
“The Translator is a way to hold myself accountable and to be self-critical for not participating in the revolution,” said Kazkaz, who was living in Damascus when people took to the streets in cities across Syria. She recalls when the fear that prevailed at the start of the revolution forced her “to stay at home, too afraid to let the kids go to school and to suddenly recognize a level of suspicion that was pervading our society at that time.”
Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring, Kazkaz says what is more tragic than the Syrian government’s response to the calls for democracy is the “horrible breakdown of society - people no longer feel safe enough to be human.” She hopes the film’s release at this critical time will highlight the toll on human relationships and morality that accompany the tragedies that continue to take place.
“Professor Kazkaz’s film goes beyond masterfully documenting the events of the revolution to capture themes and feelings of confusion, fear, and hope that is central to examining the effect of revolutions and wars,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar.
Kazkaz is an award-winning filmmaker and an assistant professor in residence at Northwestern Qatar. This semester, she is the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professor of International Studies in the Program of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the home campus in Evanston. While there, Kazkaz is teaching two courses in the Program of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, cross-listed with the School of Communication. She will also deliver a public lecture organized by Northwestern Buffett.
With a focus on Syrian stories, Kazkaz’s producing, screenwriting, and directing portfolio includes Mare Nostrum (2016), which has featured in over 90 international film festivals and won more than 30 awards, Searching for the Translator (2016), Deaf Day (2011), and Kemo Sabe (2007). Her first feature film, The Translator (2020), won several development awards including the Arte Award at L’Atelier de la Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival (2017), the CNC Award at Meetings on the Bridge at the Istanbul Film Festival (2017), and a Tribeca Alumni Grant (2018).