In a Syrian border village in the early 1980s, little Sero experiences his first year at school. He plays naughty pranks with his classmates, dreams of having a television so he can finally watch cartoons, and at the same time has to witness how the adults around him are increasingly crushed by nationalist despotism and violence.
A new teacher arrives to turn the Kurdish children into upstanding pan-Arab comrades. He bans the Kurdish language mercilessly, orders the worship of Assad, and preaches hatred of the Jews, the Zionist arch-enemies. The lessons confuse Sero because his longtime neighbors are an endearing Jewish family.
The film is inspired by the director’s personal childhood experiences and spans the touching narrative to the Syrian tragedy of the present.
“I worked on the film for more than 25 years. I wrote the script a long time ago when I was still studying film directing in
Czechoslovakia. I updated the script every few years, like a computer program. I never lost hope that I would be able to make this film someday. It was not easy for me as a filmmaker, as a Kurd who had to leave his homeland, to make films here in Switzerland again, but I think it worked out. If you don’t give up, if you believe in something and go for it with love and passion, you can do it.”