Taste of Cement Screen 88 of 4 reviews

Taste of Cement

2017

Taste of Cement Poster
  • It would be all too simple to relish in the formidable visual brilliance of Taste of Cement without acknowledging the metaphorical significance of this staggering portrait of Beirut from above and below. . . . Kalthoum has created here a study of men anguished by conflict without ever exploiting their predicament; Cement is a cinematic odyssey that invokes the senses and proves that the moving image is a singularly apt medium for representing the cost of human displacement.

  • If I find Syrian filmmaker Ziad Kalthoum’s Taste of Cement the gem of the lot, it is because it uses every resource of the cinema. An intimate memoir as well as a moving social document, it is also a work of great audiovisual power and lyricism.

  • Kalthoum’s masterful juxtaposition of conflict and construction is catalyzed by concrete – for every drilling, every new floor reaching for the skies, there is the sound of a bomb and a street levelled to the ground just kilometres away. But there is another layer to this film, which cannot be so easily visualized or voiced – an aftertaste that allows the dampness of the construction site to seep into the film theatre.

  • While the Lebanese-Syrian documentary has topicality in spades and a striking grasp of form, it still can’t control some of its more thudding, bombastic tendencies. . . . these moments of visual invention and the numerous others like them transmit so much atmosphere already that the plaintive accompanying music, penetrating sound design, and almost aggressively poetic voiceover frequently smothers them rather than helping them soar.