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Ali Cherri

Le Barrage (The Dam)

Ali Cherri, Le Barrage (The Dam)

North Sudan, Merowe Dam. Abu Salma, a seasonal worker from Darfur, works in a traditional brickyard on the Nile, downstream of the dam. Just like his exiled companions, he spends his days in the mud, far from his loved ones and in exhausting labour. Each night, he secretly works on the erection of a structure, a tall shape made out of mud, wood, and plastic. As the mud builds over the solid skeleton of the structure, it begins to take on an almost organic-looking form. One day, as he returns from Jebel Barkal, the mystical mountain, his creation has mysteriously disappeared. Soon strange occurrences begin to take place, and Abu Salma starts to get the uneasy feeling that someone or something is watching him.

Ali Cherri’s first feature film Le Barrage (The Dam) was co-produced by The Vega Foundation. The film premiered at Quinzaine des Realisateurs, Cannes, May 24, 2022 and has since been screened internationally. 

Directed by Ali Cherri. Screenplay: Ali Cherri, Geoffrey Grison in collaboration with Bertrand Bonello. Production: KinoElektron. Co-Production: The Vega Foundation; Galerie Imane Fares DGL Travel HQ; Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion GmBH; Trilema. Starring: Maher El Khair. 


Born in Beirut, Ali Cherri is a visual artist and filmmaker living in Paris. Combining films, videos, sculptures and installation, his work examines the construction of historical narratives. Ali is the Artist in Residence at the National Gallery in London (2021/22) and has been awarded with the Silver Lion for promising artist at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022). His short films The Disquiet and The Digger have been shown in prominent film festivals. Le Barrage (The Dam) is his feature film debut.