Mohammed Ossama
Antrepo No.3

Born in 1954, Lattakia. Lives in Rotterdam and Damascus.

The director and scriptwriter Mohammed Ossama studied film at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow. His films are concerned with power structures and the effects of these on individual identity. As the smallest organisational structure of the state, the family group propagates social order and thereby maintains its norms and values. This stabilisation of power relations often happens without the knowledge of its transmitters and addressees. Ossama notices these omnipresent disciplinary practices and their constant normalisation, and his film projects can be seen as attempts to make such practices visible and recognisable.
Step by Step (1979) is Ossama's film graduation project. At first it appears to be a documentary account of the beauty of the Syrian countryside, but then it moves on to expose the larger powers that control land, city and people. By filming the daily efforts of village people and the very basic education system, he shows the misery of young adolescent villagers whose choice is either their parent's hard farming life or that of a migrant labourer in the city. Trapped between religious and political ideologies, these young peasants choose the army, completely fascinated by authority. Ossama's short film follows the stages of submission one has to pass through in society, and the transformation of the individual mindset from unmediated coexistence with nature towards an acceptance and justification of violence towards those they hold dearest. It becomes an account of how society normalises and justifies violence as part of the process of transforming generations of peasants into citizen-soldiers.