Jabbara‘ is a short film about pain. In fact, it is a project about loneliness and depression. But it is also a terrifying experiment about the burden of a dysfunctional family or about the individual’s desperate attempts to save their soul through art. Psychological thriller or horror – it’s hard to say. Regardless of the main theme with which anyone will resonate, Samir Kawas’ short film is far from approaching a conventional structure that will delight its viewers with a story in which the good overcomes the evil. Moreover, this short film provides a truly cathartic experience in which violence (either visual or acoustic) becomes the main mechanism generating on the screen subtle forms of domestic cruelty that favours a sore exploration of a young woman’s psyche confronted with the demons from the past. ‘Jabbara’ is thus a film about the avatars of the monsters that populate our destiny; a film about the monsters that sometimes take the form of our own parents or which arise from the emotional wounds of those deprived of human warmth.


Lina is a girl for whom drawing has become the only form of survival. However, her monochrome paintings are constantly haunted by an invisible and aggressive spectrum that often takes the shape of her mother’s voice. Could she trust her own talent or the vague memory of her beloved father to overcome all the barriers of this narrow world populated by demons?


Beyond the difficult subject he attacks with an intense and ingenious narrative structure supported by a cold and magnetic chromatic similar to films like ‘The Babadook’, the great achievement of  director Samir Kawas is to concentrate in a few minutes a cinematic interior monologue, starting from the enclosed space convention (somewhat inspired by theatrical aesthetics), transforming the viewer into a silent witness to the protagonist’s inner voice, into a kind of intruder who disturbs Lina’s silence. At the same time, the extraordinary talent of the actress who sustains the tension of the entire film all by herself makes ‘Jabbara’ a heart-breaking short  that often forces viewers’ endurance while seeing how the soul wounds of the main character (or, why not?, our very own) reopen under their eyes to stain the present with the venom of a personal history that she (or we) may not deserve.


For the intensity with which the director captures vast landscapes of emotional pain, for its gloomy magnetism that portrays the violent eruption of the wounds from the past that destroy any attempt to rehabilitate, but also for the talent of the actress who embodies the victim of an agonizing personal history, ‘Jabbara’ was awarded with the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the August 2019 edition of TMFF.