'A Broken House' is a story of love, loss, and creating pathways home.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its shortlists for the 2022 Oscars in 10 categories, including documentary and international features.
A film about Syrian artist Mohamad Hafez is among 15 titles shortlisted for Best Documentary Short for the 94th Academy Awards.
Presented by The New Yorker and directed by Jimmy Goldblum, A Broken House explores Hafez’s feeling of hiraeth (homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or never was) with great sensitivity and an aesthetic that complements his art – creating detailed miniatures of the Damascus landscape he’d left behind.
When Mohamad Hafez received a single-entry visa to study architecture in the United States, he realized if he couldn’t return home to Syria, he could make home. A skilled architectural model-maker, he spent his years in exile sculpting life-like renditions of his Damascus neighbourhood.
When the civil war broke out and his parents fled to the United States as refugees, Mohamad’s bottled-up frustration erupted on his models. In a fit of mania, he broke his artworks, leaving them shattered, bombed-out replicas of the Syrian buildings he saw on the news.
And yet, when word of his broken pieces spread, Mohamad became an inspiration to refugees and immigrants in the diaspora who dreamed of homes that only existed in memories.
In 2019, the Sharjah Art Museum presented a solo exhibition of the artist’s work titled Journeys from an Absent Present to a Lost Past. The show included works from his Baggage series as well as Hung Memories.