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Danish premiere of the documentary ‘The 1001 faces of Palmyra’ (Les visages oubliés de Palmyre)

The documentary about the oasis city of Palmyra takes as one of its points of departure the research conducted in the Palmyra Portrait Project. The Danish premiere on 4 September 2021 is part of the festival Golden Days.

‘The 1001 faces of Palmyra’ covers the oasis city’s long urban history – all the way up to the destructions by ISIS in 2015 and 2016 during the Syrian civil war. The visually impressive film follows the Palmyra Portrait Project, directed by Rubina Raja and funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, and the work and challenges documenting the funerary portraiture both before and after the destructions of Palmyra. The documentary, which is directed by Meyar AL-Roumi and produced by Un film á la patte and ARTE France, underlines the great potential of studying Palmyra through the remaining limestone portraits of its former inhabitants.

Searching for Palmyrene funerary portraits around the world

The film follows Rubina Raja and the Palmyra Portrait Project around the world, as they search for funerary portraits. From the collection at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (the largest collection of Palmyrene funerary portraits outside Syria) to the collection in the Musei Vaticani in Rome. And from the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, where an exhibition of Palmyrene funerary sculpture was featured in 2018, to the collection of the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin in Paris.

‘The 1001 faces of Palmyra’ premieres in Denmark at Grand Teatret in Copenhagen on 4 September, 10:00 as part of the Copenhagen-based festival Golden Days 2021. Golden Days is a cultural-historical festival centered around history, the present and what has shaped and continues to shape humans and societies. The theme of this year’s festival is Antiquity, and the audience can experience many different events around Copenhagen from 3 August to 19 September. One such event is also the interview with Rubina Raja at Grand Teatret in connection with the Danish premiere of the documentary.

The Palmyra Portrait Project

The funerary portraits from Palmyra, which showcase both Roman and local traditions, give a fascinating insight in the way Palmyrenes viewed themselves as well as their city. The corpus collected by the Palmyra Portrait Project currently holds about 4000 portraits and will be published in 2022. The Palmyra Portrait Project has overall changed our knowledge about innovation and tradition – both in Palmyra and in Antiquity in general. It has contributed to new knowledge about production economy, social status, gender balance in society, and demography.


Read more about the documentary here and here.

Read more about the Danish premiere 4 September and buy tickets here.

For more information about the Palmyra Portrait Project, see here.

For further information about Golden Days 2021, see here.