Thursday, July 30, 2009

LFF 2009 - Film Selections Part 3

Here are seven more selections for the 2009 Lebanese Film Festival.

Including the ones listed below, a total of 17 film selections have been announced thus far. Stay tuned for more...


Zeid wa Leila
by Jad Sarout
Lebanon, 2009 - Animation

Zeid and Leila wake up in their new apartment.


Le deuil de la cigogne joyeuse
by Eileen Hofer
Lebanon, 2009 - Short movie

The dramatic reconstruction of a key day in the life of a couple who has since left Lebanon. Nasri and Nour await nightfall to flee the mounting political tensions in their country. Convinced they will be able to return to Beirut soon, they bring with them only the bare necessities. Little do they know that they are leaving behind the fond memories of a paradise lost.


P like Paranoïa
by Rami Kodeih
Lebanon, 2008 - Video clip

A psychopathic and paranoid character confronts three states of heart and mind in escalating situations: weakness, decision and vengeance from illusions.


by Nizar Hassan
Palestine / Lebanon, 2008 - Documentary

In August 2006, in the midst of the war between the Shiite party Hezbollah and the Israeli army in Lebanon, a controversial article was published in the Lebanese newspaper Al Nahar. "To Be a Shi'ite Now," written by Shiite psychology professor Dr. Mona Fayyad, was a harsh criticism of the Hizbollah party and its sympathizers.

This article sparked a lively debate amongst Shia and Arab intellectuals about the Shiite identity. It motivated Palestinian filmmaker Nizar Hassan to make a personal film in Lebanon - a journey of discovery and an attempt to define and/or redefine the Shiite current reality, identity and role. During this journey he meets five Shiite characters from five different horizons and generations: Mona, Bissan, Issam, Luman and Anwar are five rich and colorful experiences, who dreams converge in one point: to live in a non-sectarian country.


by Talal Khoury
Lebanon, 2009 - Short movie

On Wednesday morning, Khaled wakes up and faces a frenzied day, which starts with his girlfriend's hormonal crisis.

Omar wakes up and attempts suicide, but fails. He is subjected to his daily life and his wife, whom he refers to as "Monster."

Mohamad is a kleptomaniac -- he has stolen his friend's wife.

On a day like any other, these completely common characters live in an atmosphere in which surrealism starts to take over.


9 Août
by Talal Khoury
Lebanon, 2009 - Short movie

"9 Août" is an illustration of one of Mahmoud Darwish's poems. The poem emphasizes the tragic and human side of the martyr's persona.

The film is a visual journey that combines public and private experience and follows the lives of a couple separated by a death called "heroic."

It pays tribute to Arabic poetry through a combination of the language of film and music with that of poetry.

This film is the second part of a trilogy that illustrates three poems, each written by a different Palestinian poet. The trilogy has been created in hopes of presenting the Palestinian experience as intellectual and cultural resistance.


Film of Welcome and Farewells
by Corine Shawi
Denmark, 2009 - Documentary

Five persons are observed during farewells. The loss spreads throughout Copenhagen, in fragmented landscapes, bodies and emotions.While our hearts are crucified by loneliness and detachment, we demand a change and only hope for a welcome.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Director Close-Up

LFF 2009 Selection: "Once Upon a Sidewalk"

When I chatted with Gheith a few days ago, he couldn't help but express himself in color. He and his sisters are so different in personality that they are "like red, green and blue." People of similar culture are "of the same color." He even sometimes dreams in monochrome - and of an entire universe made of play dough, cardboard and paintings.

Gheith's artistic interests also draw from a diverse palette, and include film, video art, plastic arts and jazz. Perhaps this is why he is especially attracted to film and video, which he sees as a “recreating of space in 3-D: emotions, sounds, colors, texts, life.” Here are a few excerpts from our chat:

..né.à Beyrouth (nàB): Congratulations on being selected for screening at this year’s Lebanese Film Festival. Why did you submit your film to this particular festival?

Gheith Al-Amine (GA): I’m excited that my work will be screened at the Lebanese Film Festival. There are other festivals in Beirut which show up and coming Lebanese filmmakers, but ..né.à Beyrouth’s festival has a different audience, one that is focused on film and video. So it is a good venue for alternative videomakers.

nàB: You call your work an experimental video. What makes it experimental?

GA: I don’t want to pigeonhole my work or films in general with specific genre labels. “Once Upon a Sidewalk” has documentary aspects. It is also poetic, a different reality that talks to me.

This video is a homage, a tribute to women. I grew up surrounded by women – with my two sisters and my mother. The piece explores the representation of women as objects of desire. It also questions the medium of video itself by repeatedly manipulating parameters. I reconstruct a shot that was originally taken 9 years ago and each time I try to convey other meanings.

nàB: Do you have any new projects in the works?

GA: I am working on a few projects. One video installation, in which a painting is revealed in stop-motion, is a triptych video based on linguistics.

I’m also conceptualizing two documentaries, both exploring places that I have never visited but have often imagined because of important influences in my life.

My family is passionate about Arabic music, literature and politics, and has often told stories about Cairo in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Cairo of Um Kalthoum. I know Tangier through my favorite authors: William S. Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Mohamed Choukri, Roland Barthes, Jack Kerouac, Jean Genet. I want to see Cairo and Tangier through the perspective of these sources of inspiration, my own imagination and their socioeconomic realities.

Monday, July 27, 2009

LFF 2009 - Film Selections Part 2

Last week, we announced the first five film selections of the Lebanese Film Festival. Here are five more.

In total, around 30 films will be selected for screening. Including the ones below, ten films have been announced so far.

Check in soon for more film selection announcements.


My Heart Beats Only For Her
by Mohamed Soueid

Lebanon, 2008 - Documentary

Inspired by the Vietnamese revolution, the call to transform every Arab capital into a Hanoi for the Palestinian revolution echoed far and wide in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hatem Hatem fought amongst the brigades of Fat'h and was known by the nom de guerre Abu Hassan Hanoi. This film is intended as a letter to Hatem Hatem from his son Hassan, who revisits the memory of Fat'h's Vietnamese moment in Lebanon. The journey takes him to Beirut, Dubai and Hanoi, as he explores each city's relationship to revolution, war and urban growth.


by Sirine Fattouh
Lebanon, 2008 - Experimental

"Remake" was made during the summer of 2008 in northern Lebanon, while the director was working on the project "Perdu/Gagné." Sirine filmed a man in four static shots and asked him two questions each time: "What have you won?" and "What have you lost?" The final result is a humorous, 16-minute video of an interview in which boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred as the interviewee changes his speech and dress for each sequence.


Hayda Lubnan
by Eliane Raheb

Lebanon, 2008 - Documentary

Eliane says, " 'This is Lebanon' is the fatalist phrase I always hear from my Maronite parents whenever an unfortunate event shakes up Lebanon, and especially when the Christians feel they are 'depressed'."

Using the political crisis that has taken place in Lebanon since 2005 as a departure point, the director tries to unravel the country's sectarianism and questions her parents about her own upbringing.


Ecce Hommos
by Claude el Khal

Lebanon, 2009 - Short Movie

Full of enthusiasm and hope, a young Lebanese filmmaker, script in hand, knocks on the door of an international producer to pitch his film project.

"Ecce Hommos" is a satire of a world where the dreams of young Lebanese filmmakers often clash with the ignorance and arrogance of "professionals" who confuse clichés with works of art and want to turn Lebanese cinema into a lousy version of the evening news.


by Jad Eid

Lebanon, 2008 - Short movie

It has been announced that the town of Houla will be invaded in the coming three days.

Seif has no more shaving cream. He cannot stand his growing beard. Fighting with the grocery vendor, Seif negotiates the price of the last remaining tube of shaving cream.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LFF 2009 - Film Selections Part 1

The submission period for the 2009 Lebanese Film Festival (LFF) is now closed. Thank you to everyone who sent works for consideration.

During the next few weeks, the LFF blog will introduce the selected films (in no particular order). Over thirty works will be chosen for screening. ..né.à Beyrouth is proud to present the first five selections of this year's festival:


Dans le Sang
by Katia Jourjoura
Lebanon, 2009 - Short Movie

Beirut, 19 years after the civil war. Farès, a former militiaman of the the "New Lebanon" party, wants to get his wayward son off the streets and convince him to keep out of the violence, which is gripping the country once more.


by Sabine El Chamaa
Lebanon, 2009 - Short Movie

An elderly woman wanders into her war-ravaged house and collects pieces from its ruined walls. In the privacy of her new home, she rebuilds a wall, stone by stone. Situated between reality and imagination, the partially animated film is a reflection of the interplay between war, memories and dreams.


Once Upon a Sidewalk
by Gheith Al-Amine
Lebanon, 2009 - Experimental

Gheith Al-Amine says: "This video attempts to recreate the same invading colors and feelings I experienced nine years ago once upon a Saturday night on Monot Street."


Darson fil tarikh
by Hady Zaccak
Lebanon / Qatar, 2009 - Documentary

In 1989, the deputies gathered together in Taef and decided to consolidate books about history and civil education in Lebanon. A unified history book has yet to come to fruition. Instead, there are several history books reflecting different versions of history.

"Darson fil tarikh" ("A Lesson in History") follows history classes in five different schools located in Greated Beirut. Although the curriculum is standardized for all third year students according to the 1970 edict, contradictions emerge through interviews with the students themselves, who come from different backgrounds and affiliations. The history of Lebanon has been in arrested development since the country's independence.


In Place: 4 Returnees from the Lebanese Civil Wars
by Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim
Lebanon, 2009 - Documentary

"In Place: 4 Returnees from the Lebanese Civil Wars" forgoes simplifying the violence that afflicted Lebanon. Instead, Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim offer viewers a kaleidoscopic view of various conflicts and actors.

The film joins together four interviews, each one a separate act in the drama of the Lebanese Civil Wars. Former leaders continue to hold respectable positions. Their confidence shines through in their interviews. Former grunts continue to hold marginalized positions. They give furtive interviews under the cover of anonymity. The wars affected the fates of each in different ways.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Welcome to the Lebanese Film Festival Blog

Gear up for the 8th Edition of the Lebanese Film Festival by checking here for frequent updates -- including exclusive behind-the-scenes stories, interviews with participating filmmakers, trailers and other event details.

As in past years, festival-goers will enjoy a wide variety of new and retrospective films by Lebanese film-makers or about Lebanon, in documentary, fiction, experimental and animated styles. We’re also featuring events and thematic explorations unique to this year’s festival.

Here’s a sneak preview of the 2009 Lebanese Film Festival line-up:


* “The Role and Future of Festivals”
Q&A with Lars Gass, Director of the Oberhausen Short Film Festival

* Launch of Second Lebanese Film Festival DVD (2005-2008 festival films)
Signing event with film directors featured in the DVD


* Lebanese Corner
Selection of fiction, experimental and documentary films directed by Lebanese filmmakers in 2008-2009

* Foreign Kaleidoscope
Films related to Lebanon and directed by foreign filmmakers

* Cineritage
Films of yesterday, trailers, TV archives and home movies

* Foreign Festival Retro
Retrospective of the Oberhausen Short Film Festival with special guest Lars Gass

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The submission period for the Lebanese Film Festival has been extended. The new deadline is July 20th, 2009.