A Plate of Sardines

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About the Film:

“The first time I heard of Israel, I was in Beirut, the conversation was about a plate of sardines. I was six years old, Israel was two.” In the company of fellow Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Malas, the ground-breaking director Omar Amiralay revisits the ruins of the destroyed Golan village of Quneytra, occupied by Israel and then abandoned following the 1973 war. Shots of Quneytra – symbolically ransacked and left in total devastation by the Israeli army – provides a haunting backdrop to this exploration of memory, place and politics. The director’s accomplished blending of re-enactments, interviews and landscape imagery makes A Plate of Sardines an integral and striking contribution to Arab cinema. Omar Amiralay has been making politically courageous and artistically experimental film since the 1970s and has frequently fallen foul of the Syrian regime for his socialist commitments and unflinching critiques. He was honoured with a special session during the Pompidou Centre’s Cinéma du Réel Festival in 2006.


Director: Omar Amiralay

Release Date: 1998

Duration: 17mins