TAGHRID BOU MERHI: She is a Lebanese poetess, writer, and translator living in Brazil. She holds a Law degree and is ambassador of the team “International Cultural Salon Association” and ambassador of Brazil in the American P.L.O.T.S. Magazine and ambassador of Lebanon in the Association of the World Union of Writers and Artists UMEA Portugal. Member of prestigious platform Of WWWU World Nations Writers’ Union Kazakhstan. She is na advisor to the countries Al-Sham literary platform for literary translation. Brand Ambassador from Brazil for Moncheri Escapes – a leading travel agency in India. She won the Nizar Sartawi International Translator Award for Creativity 2021 in the field of translation and literature. She won the 2nd Annual Zhengxin International Poet Award 2022.She hon received the World Prize Prestigious “RAHIM KARIM WORLD PRIZE”. She has received the recognition from Greece Delphi (Elaiko Bpabeio), where the celebration of Peace. Editor of Al-Arabe Today, Rainbow, Literária Agharid, Al-Nil Walfurat, Literária and Allaylak Magazine.Fluent in Arabic (native language), French, English, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.Her poems have been published in numerous international anthologies،various Literary magazines,journals and websites.Her poems have been translated into more than 24 languages.  Her books include: 1. Songs of longing; 2.The Keys of Science:Verses and Manifestations; 3. Philosophies at the Edge of the Soul; 4. Flowers Of Love; 5. Wounds of the heart; 6. La Esperanza; 7. Mine Is Not Mine ; 8. Falling Alphabet

The movie “The Man Who Sold His Back”…

The body is the immigrant’s ticket

The story of a Syrian man who drew a “Schengen” visa on his skin so that he might reach Europe

Tunisian writer and director Kawthar Bem Hania, in her new film “The Man Who Sold His Back”, travels us towards a world of surrealism mixed with tragedy that we live daily in our Arab world, where she presents the idea of the suffering of young people in their involuntary emigration. The author’s creativity in mixing the two worlds of refugees and contemporary art in the film, through which she tries to portray the Syrian situation, through the true story of a Syrian young man named Sam Ali.

The main role in the film is played by the Canadian actor of Syrian origin, Yahya Mahaini, along with the French actors Dia Alian, Christian Vadim, the Belgian Queen D, and the Lebanese-Syrian artist Darina El-Gendy، and the Tunisians Najwa Zuhair and Bilal Selim. The film reached the short and final lists of films participating in the Oscars and the “Golden Globes”.

Movie Events

The events of the film begin when Sam Ali flees from his homeland, Syria, to Lebanon, and Sam is subjected to arbitrary arrest, then he meets a Belgian painter who makes a deal with him to tattoo his back with a “Schengen” visa, and displays it as a painting in front of the public, then sells it in art spaces, in exchange for fulfilling his dream of traveling to His sweetheart, Abeer.

Writer and director Bem Haniyeh inspired her film from the work of the contemporary Belgian artist “Wim Delvoye”, which is loaded with messages and connotations. The appropriate side of the world, as a result, he loses his soul and freedom under force majeure, which may make any person agree to contract any work or accept any offer, even at the expense of his dignity and humanity.

Human Moments

The film takes the viewer into harsh human moments when the character faces a self-conflict, lives within the vortex of his existence and his life experience, and has inherited the state of inequality under a dictatorial authority.

These scenes are painfully embodied at the moment when the hero, Sam Ali, stands in front of others in international exhibitions and auctions, as a “painting”, and not as a human individual who lost his soul and freedom in search of a way out, which will be conditioned by “lack” in order to obtain a better life.

It was fate that the artwork depicted on Sam’s back would be a great success, translated by the imaginary amounts provided by the market auctions. Despite the success, the hero faces the unfair trade-off by giving up a third of his sales revenue, and in this a contemplative philosophy for another symbolic significance in the film..!! Among the details of the exchange, there are some hidden messages about goods that can move freely in the world, but this prisoner within the walls of his body cannot transcend his reality in which he is imprisoned.

He Sold Himself To The Devil

There are many events in the film, and in every event there is a very thoughtful idea. There is na idea that revolves around the theme of the man who sold himself to the devil, na idea taken from the tragedy of Dr. Faustus in na Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe, where the hero of that tragedy gives his soul to Satan as a price for that life. This is the case for the hero of the Tunisian writer and director, Kawthar Bem Hania, who gave his body in exchange for the freedom of movement that all refugees and others who belong to the Third World suffer from. And if we look at this scene from another angle, we will find it similar to the tragedy of (the model), or the body that undresses in order to eat, or like the old eloquent proverb: “The free woman starves and does not eat with her breast.” The dramatic idea is one and the approach is different, which is buying and selling. The misery of the seller and the misery of the buyer.

Sam Ali sold his back in the literal sense, and the irony is that he became part of the art world, where he exposed his skin, as well as personal and internal beliefs in a trilogy deliberately displayed in front of the institutions that control and control the world, whether through art or through anything else (buyer, museum, critic).

The film depicts this dilapidated person under the weight of asylum and exploitation, when he sells used skin, which will one day disappear from existence, and lose all its material and moral value.

Final Reflections

Usually, we contemplate drawings on wood, pottery, clay, or cloth. Either the body becomes a wall, na exhibition, a drawing, a painting, or even a cinematic scene in order to cross into life, which is the pinnacle of suffering. A human body, a man’s back, a viewing screen, as in the novel “Night Post” by the Lebanese novelist “Huda Barakat”, which won the Booker Prize in 2019, which tells about the suffering of Syrian refugees as they migrate to nowhere.

©® Written by Taghrid Bou Merhi



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