Belarusian diplomat to ST: The first-ever Belarusian cinema Festival in Syria will boost friendly relations


For the first time in the history of bilateral relations established between Syria and Belarus 25 years ago, a Belarusian cinema festival is scheduled to kick off on Saturday in Tartous province in Syria for three days.

The three-day activity, organized by Syrian Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of Belarus, comes few weeks after the performance of concert by a Belarusian national dance team at Damascus Opera House.

These cultural activities come among the plan of the Belarussian embassy in Syria to enhance friendly relations between the peoples of Belarus and Syria, according to the ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Damascus Mr. Alexander Ponomarev, who was interviewed by the Syriatimes e-newspaper on Thursday.

Mr. Ponomarev told us that the first-ever Belarusian cinema days, or what we can call it ‘Belarusian cinema festival’, will start from Tartous province because we have special invitation from the governor of the province. “Last month, the Belarusian dance team got a very warm welcome in Syria and then we came up to the idea of holding this festival, which is a first trial that I hope to be held in the other cities in Syria.”


The program of the festival, according to the Belarusian diplomat, includes three movies created in 1980s and they won a lot of prizes in some international festivals. “These movies depict the Belarusian people’s culture and some contexts talk about humor, while the other ones focus on world war II, which was a very remarkable event in the history of Belarus and affected it and other countries of the soviet union in a very significant way. The war claimed the lives of 3 million only from the population of our country out 10 million died during the war.”

The movies are:

1-‘White Dew’ is a Soviet 1983 comedy film directed by Igor Dobrolyubov.  

2- The ‘Brest Fortress’, defended by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht, held out longer than expected and, after the Second World War had finished, became a symbol of Soviet resistance. In 1965 the fortress received the title of Hero Fortress for the 1941

3- ‘Come and See’ is a 1985 Soviet war drama film directed by Elem Klimov [The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko) into the forest to join the weary Resistance fighters, against his family's wishes. There he meets a girl, Glasha (Olga Mironova), who accompanies him back to his village. On returning home, Florya finds his family and fellow peasants massacred. His continued survival amidst the brutal debris of war becomes increasingly nightmarish, a battle between despair and hope.

Out of the films to be screened in the cinema days, the favorite film for the diplomat is the "Brest fortress” because it is heroic movie.

“I also like other films which could not be broadcasted here for some technical reasons but hopefully we can bring them to Syria later for the kids. It is Pinocchio.. our interpretation for Pinocchio is very funny and very smart movie. I hope that Syrian kids can share our vision of the Pinocchio,” Mr. Ponomarev added.

Besides these movies, a documentary entitled the’ Belarus is a peaceful nation’ will be screened in the opening ceremony of the festival.

“It depicts the recent part of the Belarusian history; how it contributed to the establishment of the peaceful process to settle down situation in the south-east of Ukraine in the past and created the ground for negotiations as there were arm activities there,” the ambassador said.

He made it clear that the goal of the festival is not only to demonstrate the Belarusian culture and history but also to support the Belarusian community in Tartous province and nearby areas.

“We invited Belarusian community in Tartous and nearby areas to attend this activity and we also invited the Syrians who are interested in being families with our country to attend it in order to provide important information to Syrian friends about my country and making further development in friendly relations between the two countries,” the ambassador stated.

He expressed his happiness for relaunching the Belarusian cultural activities in Syria after the restoration of peace and security to Damascus and many cities in Syria, hoping to have a chance to watch Syrian documentaries with English or Russian subtitles.  

“The cultural cooperation enriches the other areas of cooperation between countries and overall enriches the relations between the peoples of the countries as they receive more information about the other nations’ way of life and way of thinking form of dancing and tradition,” the diplomat stressed.

He went on to say: “Cinema can demonstrate part of our life and we hope that we can go ahead with holding more cultural activities such as: painting exhibitions and theater and some other shapes of arts in the coming years.”

The Ambassador referred to a documentary screened on his country’s television channels about the events in Syria.

“I would like to emphasize that our view about what is happening in Syria corresponds with the Syrian people who stayed here during the war and who suffered a lot. I know the director of the documentary he is very sympathetic with the Syrian people I believe he was reflecting the situation in Syria in fair and correct way,” he added.

The diplomat concluded by saying that the peoples of Belarus and Syria are very hospital and they receive foreign guests with best feelings and hospitality.

On January 26, 2018, Syrian Children won six first place awards in the final stage of a Belarusian musical talent competition during their participation in the Children’s Winter Camp in the city of Zubrionok.

The Republic of Belarus is one of Syria’s friends that offered support to Syrian people and government in several fields during the ongoing terror war being waged on the country since 2011. Its strong support has been remarkable in the sectors of healthcare, education, economy, politics and humanitarian aid.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour