What Remains of Me
Yemeni documentary: A Glimpse into Taiz” unveils the reality of Taiz, the most densely populated city in Yemen, renowned for its cultural, commercial, tourism, and industrial activities. Located southwest of the capital, Sana’a, the city has been transformed from a thriving metropolis to a grief-stricken and devastated area.
Filming and documenting the events in Taiz took weeks due to the challenges of navigating residential areas littered with randomly placed minefields and cunningly disguised explosives resembling toys, stones, and tree trunks. Fear of snipers and the harsh realities of living under siege compelled the crew to traverse dangerous paths, risking their lives while attempting to capture the true essence of the city’s struggles.
Once a picturesque city, Taiz is now shattered and disheartened. The crew chose to enter the city via its primary access point, Al Hawban entry, which has been closed for over five years. The Houthis, Iran-backed militias responsible for the coup against the internationally recognized government, seized control of the entry and have since prohibited any movement in or around the area. This has intensified the inhabitants’ suffering, transforming the once-vibrant city into an enormous prison where medical and food aid can only be delivered via airdrops due to the ongoing siege.
The crew embarked on a perilous four-hour journey to enter the city through an alternative route, which, before the siege, would have taken only ten minutes to reach the city center. Traveling on a rugged road in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, they endured hardship and danger before finally arriving at their destination. Upon arrival, they were confronted with various threats, including landmines, explosives, snipers, and artillery shells.
Within the city, warning signs were insufficient to protect civilians from the hazards of landmines and explosives. No one knew what they might encounter, whether it be explosives on the roadsides or those hidden in abandoned homes, facilities, or schools. Hundreds of Taiz’s civilians, including children and women, have lost their lives or limbs to these deadly devices that continue to pose a threat to innocent victims.
During filming, the crew witnessed the lack of effort to mitigate these dangers. The documentary highlights the stories of Jamal Jameel, who lost both his feet to a shell while playing near his house, and young Malak, who had her arm amputated by a shell while on her way to buy candy as a reward for her academic excellence. The film also recounts the tragedy of Dalila, a young woman whose legs were amputated due to a landmine planted near a well in front of her home, among other heart-wrenching tales.
These stories serve as a vivid representation of the city’s reality. Through the eyes of Taiz’s children, women, and youth, the documentary portrays a city that is broken, sorrowful, and deeply depressed. Known as the Dreamy City, Taiz has lost thousands of its finest young men and women. Determined to bring attention to the city’s plight, the documentary “What Remains of Me” aims to amplify the voices of its people, appealing to the conscience of the global community to collaborate and put an end to this tragedy.
This powerful film has garnered numerous awards, including:
Best Documentary Short at the Independent Shorts Awards (August 2021)
Best Documentary Short at the Indie Short Fest (May 2021)
Best Director (Female) at the Indie Short Fest (May 2021)
Short Documentary at the Montreal Independent Film Festival (February 2021)
Best Documentary at the Venice Shorts (January 2021)
Best Documentary Short at the IndeieX Film Fest (May 2020)