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June 30 2022 10:55 AM ˚
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Becoming : A tale about breaking the chains

Becoming 
A tale about breaking the chains
(Photos: Handouts from Tamara Al-Ajlouney)
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Becoming is a bold, no-holds-barred visual storytelling of several up-and-coming filmmaking students. This short film tightly packs a complex tale about breaking away from societal chains and the right to forge individual identities. It also explores themes of freedom and discrimination, which are highlighted through a series of fragmented scenes.اضافة اعلان

The film follows Akka, a young woman in her twenties, who is dissatisfied with her job at a local bookshop. She dreams of being a contemporary dancer but suppresses this desire due to financial difficulties, social norms, and societal expectations. She neither has the courage to accept her inner calling nor to pursue dancing as she anticipates the challenges and rejections she will experience.



On a regular day at the bookshop, while reading as usual, Akka unconsciously starts tapping on the table. This tapping opens a portal to a dream-like reality where music begins to play. She initially resists going with the flow of the music, but gradually starts breaking the invisible chains, following the rhythm, and moving freely with the beat. Eventually, she comes out of the otherworldly portal and returns to her seat at the bookshop with a full understanding of what she really wants.

The alternating scenes of her consistent torments, daily burdens, current life, and future lives paints a glowering miasma of shadows. Akka overcomes these difficulties in vivid flashes, attempting to break free from the normative mold. The story is a metaphor of a woman discovering her two identities and of not having the life she desires. These strong ulterior messages are communicated to affirm people’s, especially women’s, choices and, more importantly, the freedom of choice itself.

A motif in the film and its posters is a pearl necklace firmly wrapped around a fish. “There is a symbolism behind the fish and the pearls. The fish dances around freely in the water, but as soon as it is moved out of its safe zone, it dies. Fish, unlike other animals, do not decay immediately after death; they keep an appearance of freshness,” said Tamara Al-Ajlouney, the film’s director.

According to Ajlouney, there are several references in the film inspired by other visual works: “We mainly took (the television show) Euphoria as a makeup reference. Marcell Rév, the cinematographer of Euphoria, tried to emulate emotions through colors, so the strong red we choose helped elevate the visuals out of reality and push the emotions into the image. The red symbolizes rebellion, breaking restrictions, and the strength derived from freedom.”



“For the dramatic smash cuts that interrupt the dancing, we got this inspiration for this editing technique from the movie Lucy, which is to put unrelated images together to deliver certain feelings or ideas.”

“Even the chained fish with pearls is inspired by a painting by René Magritte, who was a surrealist painter. Surrealism goes perfectly with our concept that balances rational visions of life and the one that assert the power of the unconscious and dreams. And we believe that the first step to achieving your dream and breaking all chains is to accept that dream in the conscious and the unconscious mind.”
We mainly took (the television show) Euphoria as a makeup reference. Marcell Rév, the cinematographer of Euphoria, tried to emulate emotions through colors, so the strong red we choose helped elevate the visuals out of reality and push the emotions into the image. The red symbolizes rebellion, breaking restrictions, and the strength derived from freedom.
The film’s crew consists of students who took a filmmaking class together, Ajouney explained. “We did not know one another well but we recognized that we all shine in different ways. Some of us multi-tasked our way till we go the final film. I not only directed the film, but I also co-wrote the script with Hescham Al-Karshan, who served as cinematographer and assisted Akka Hamdan in the post-production process. Akka was our main performer, Mayar Kabajah and her sister Lour oversaw costume design and hair styling, while Hala Aljabrah did an outstanding job on the makeup,” Ajlouney said.

The crew went through several brainstorming sessions before coming up with the final concept. Filming began on May 14 at Sanad Bookshop in downtown Amman. They moved to a dancing room at the University of Jordan’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Filming concluded on May 27 when the last scenes were shot at Kabajah’s house.



A booklet was created to record the process of making the film. It includes the conflict, structure, storyboards, shot list, call sheet, outfit sketches, and makeup looks. The booklet will serve as a way for the crew to remember the moments they shared while working on their debut film.

This type of ambitious work highlights the potential of college students and how they should be empowered to pursue their creative interests. Ajlouney told Jordan News: “One of the biggest challenges was to bring our vision to life on a low budget. We paid for everything from our own personal stipend, and we got all the equipment we needed through friends and connections. Even the locations we scouted were given to us for free.”

“After pouring our hearts into this, we finally got to see it on the big screen in a screening event facilitated by our beloved professor, Diran Malatjalian, who has been our biggest supporter since day one, at the University of Jordan. Hopefully, we will be participating in screenings and film festivals around the world,” Ajlouney concluded.


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