Delphine Minoui, Bruno Joucla | Syria, Turkey, France 2018 | 64 Min. | OmeU

In the midst of the Syrian civil war, a group of friends ventures a unique experiment of cultural resistance: despite the constant bombing, they rescue books from the rubble of the beleaguered outskirts of Damascus and secretly build a library that becomes a sanctuary for the hope of peace, freedom and democracy. A special experience that they meticulously film and document. Since the city was vacated, the friends separated by the turmoil of war and forced exile are longing for a reunion. Daraya – A Library Under Bombs is an inspirational story that impressively shows how hope and friendship can overcome the horrors of war.

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Directors: Delphine Minoui, Bruno Joucla
Cinematography and Sound: Delphine Minoui
Editing: Bruno Joucla
Production: BROTHER FILMS 


Albert London prize-winning Delphine Minoui is a permanent Figaro foreign correspondant in Istanbul, and a Middle East specialist. She has been a foreign correspondant there for many years (in Teheran, Cairo, Beirut). In Les passeurs de livres de Daraya (Seuil, 2017) she tells the story of a clandestine library in Syria. Fighting with books. This is the story of an incredible community of rebels who relentlessly opposed the beauty of words to the violence of bombs. This famous “third voice” between Damas and Daech was born out of the pacifist demonstrations of the 2011 uprising that was silenced by the war. The book, which is already being translated into dozens of languages and is up amongst the best-selling French language books, quite obviously lends itself to a documentary film. In 2017, convinced by this prospect, we started to communicate with Delphine and Bruno Joucla, the director that Delphine had approached with her project.

Bruno Joucla is a film director. Recently, he directed “Au nom de l’ordre et de la Morale,” produced by What’s Up films, a multi-award winning documentary film. He started his career in 1998 as an editor at the CAPA agency, and his work was noticed very early on. Amongst others, he has worked with Richard Puech (“Une journée dans la vie d’un pneu” – FIGRA Investigation prize ), Alexis Marant (“Planet for sale” – FIGRA Jury’s prize), and Manon Loizeau (“Iran, after the protest” – FIGRA Grand prize). Over the past ten years, he has collaborated with David André, “We did it on songg” (Golden FIPA) and “Everlasting sorrows” (Albert London Prize), amongst others. Through these diverse films, each one very different from the next, Bruno Joucla refined his visual and narrative writing, his personal touch. He created his identity. He later naturally turned towards directing (“Looking for Charlie,” – “To become doctor” – “Primary Instincts”), inspired by the world around him and the stories that flow from it.