Qumra 2023

The Dam

Qumra Screenings - Qumra 2023

Ali Cherri / France, Sudan, Lebanon, Germany, Serbia, Qatar / 2022 / 80 min / Colour / DCP / In Arabic / English subtitles
Rated: Mature subject matter. May not be suitable for minors. Individuals under the age of 15 are not admitted into cinemas


World-renowned visual artist Ali Cherri's feature debut, 'The Dam', is an allegorical tale set in the shadows of the imposing Merowe Dam in Northern Sudan. We follow the life of Sudanese brick-maker Maher as he toils in the sun all day—secretly escaping to the desert to work on his own personal project of similar magnitude. As he constructs his mysterious mud tower, revolution is in the air around him, with broadcasts and talk of protests erupting against the dictatorship of Omar Al-Bashir. While the Sudanese people rise to claim their freedom, his creation slowly starts to take on a life of its own…

While a standalone film, 'The Dam' is the third part of a trilogy of works from the director, which he has entitled as a "geography of violence". The other two being his critically-acclaimed shorts 'The Disquiet', which explored Lebanon's history of earthquakes, and 'The Digger', which followed the custodian of a neolithic necropolis in the UAE. Moving away from the documentary aesthetic of his earlier films, Cherri embraces a more poetic realism style as a compelling way to tell a very personal story of imagination set against the broader backdrop of politics and the Sudanese revolution.


Ali Cherri

Born in Beirut, Ali Cherri is a visual artist and filmmaker living in Paris. Combining films, videos, sculptures and installation, his work examines the construction of historical narratives. Ali is the Artist in Residence at the National Gallery in London (2021/22) and has been awarded with the Silver Lion for promising artist at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022). His short films 'The Disquiet' and 'The Digger' have been shown in prominent film festivals. 'The Dam', a fiction shot in Sudan during the revolution, is his debut feature film.


Ali Cherri, Geoffroy Grison, in collaboration with Bertrand Bonello
Janja Kralj
Isabelle Manquillet, Nelly Quettier
Maher El Khaïr