Bliss Image


By Alan Ng | January 10, 2020

The Syrian refugee crisis has been the subject of many news stories, movies, and documentaries since the Syrian civil war began not so long ago. It’s displaced over 5.5 million of its citizens. Fifteen of them live in Colombia, and this is the subject of Frederik Jan Depickere’s short documentary, Bliss.

The subject of Bliss is a Syrian refugee named Rifat Algafari. He currently lives in Colombia, and he narrates various images and scenes discussing his faith (or crisis of faith), his view on war, and his new rebirth as he seeks full emancipation in his new home country.

Upon first viewing, Bliss is simple in its imagery, including footage of the destruction of his home in Syria, Rifat at work in a meat locker, and receiving a lap dance. It’s also simple in the way Rifat reflects about the last few years of his life from the destruction of his old home to the rebirth in his new one. He speaks from his heart and rarely gets political. He’s free. We know it from his words and Depickere’s images.

Director Depickere does a fantastic job with Bliss piecing these simple elements together to tell one of the lesser-known stories, the distance people have been disbursed from Syria’s refugee crisis. We can all identify with Rifat’s passions to live.

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