Blick auf Kaktusfeld in Syrien


The experimental short film deconstructs and reconstructs copies of the photograph of a Syrian cactus field projected on a wall in a flat in a Berlin backyard. 

In autumn 1998, near his home in the southwest of Damascus, Khaled Abdulwahed took a landscape photograph of a cactus field on a 35mm chrome film. The old cactus fields in that area link the city with the countryside. Cacti grow all over the Middle East and are used for their fruits and as borders between houses and villages. The thorny, tough plant is also a symbol of resilience. The cactus field in Khaled’s film “backyard” was destroyed during the uprising in the summer of 2012, while the war started to form a new landscape. Khaled's picture on the film was damaged and lost, but he still had a scan of the photography-film.

A silhouette of a camera stands in front of the copied picture that is projected on a wall. The silhouette of Khaled’s head moves behind the camera, checks the frame, we hear his breathing, the camera’s clicking. Khaled searches for the picture on the negative strip, cuts the negative, focuses, zooms, scans and develops. Helicopters, bulldozers, tanks, soldiers, fire and ash hit the cactus field. The picture is being erased. Piece by piece, Khaled carefully reconstructs the photograph’s viewpoint with a pen and a circle, he re-develops his picture. Following the cactus field’s forceful deformation and the deformation of the cactus field’s picture, the battles between original and copy, reality and image, he modifies, overwrites, adapts his memory.


Script/Director/Photography/Sound/Editor Khaled Abdulwahed 
Director Assistant Amel Alzakout 
Creative Consultant Merle Kröger 
Production Alex Gerbaulet, Ines Meier
Produced by pong film
Co-produced by Khaled Abdulwahed 

Contact production pong
Alex Gerbaulet
E-mail: gerbaulet(at)
Tel: +49 (0)30 61076098



  • festivals

    World Premiere: FID Marseille | International Competition 2018

    Other Festivals 2018-19 (selection):

    • 25 FPS Festival Zagreb
    • DOK Leipzig
    • idfa - International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam
    • DOKfest Kassel
    • Punto de Vista Festival Pamplona
    • dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg
    • Go Short Festival Nijmegen
  • awards

    • CNAP Award International Competition | FID Marseille 2018
  • cv director

    Khaled Abdulwahed, born 1975 in Syria, is an artist, filmmaker and photographer based in Berlin. Since 2011 he has been producing numerous video art works and experimental documentary films which were shown and awarded on international film festivals and in art contexts worldwide. His videos BULLET (2011), TUJ (2012) and SLOT IN MEMORY (2013) were presented at Centre Georges Pompidou, Berlin Art Biennale and on Arte, among others. Since 2015 he collaborates with Berlin-based production platform pong film. In 2016 his first feature film JELLYFISH, which dealt with the civil war in Syria, was invited to the Berlinale Forum. His current works are the short film BACKYARD (2018), the experimental documentary PURPLE SEA (2020) by Amel Alzakout, that he co-directed, and his second feature length documentary BACKGROUND (2023).

  • fact sheet

    Country: Germany 2018
    Lenth: 26 minutes
    Format: 2K DCP, ProRes mov, h264 mp4 | 16:9, 25 fps, colour | 5.1 & stereo
    Language: English


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download press kit EN