Monday, August 3, 2009

Director Close-Up

LFF 2009 selection: "Darson fil Tarikh"

Hady Zaccak has a history of being a director provocateur, and has used film as a medium for incisive exploration of contradictions in Lebanese identity. His movies "Shi'a Echoes from Lebanon" and "Sunni Echoes from Lebanon" were screened last year at Lebanese Film Festival, and are examples of his study of the many sides of Lebanon. This year's festival will premiere Hady's film "Darson fil tarikh," which looks at sectarianism in history education in Lebanon. For the curious, here's a peek at Hady's thoughts:

..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?

Hady Zaccak (HZ): This will be the premiere of "Darson fil Tarikh" since the rough cut was ready for the festival deadline. It's the third consecutive year in which I am presenting films at the Lebanese Film Festival and my fifth participation. I think that this festival gives an opportunity to Lebanese cinema to be exposed and this is a very valuable thing. Its timing is also very good since many Lebanese and foreigners can attend and it has become an annual rendez-vous that stimulates us to make films because we can have a place to show the work.

nàB: Your films have always explored important but sensitive topics of the Lebanese social landscape. While working on the "Darson fil Tarikh" film, did you encounter any resistance or controversy?

HZ: As usual, the subject can be critical. It takes time to convince schools and parents to participate in a documentary dealing with history and everything has a political dimension. So I tried as much as possible to alternate between the official discourse and dig for the contradictions and it's not always easy.

nàB: While working on this film, what were some of the most powerful dynamics you observed at play in generation to generation learning and teaching of history in Lebanon? What are the implications of this generational transference for Lebanese national identity today and in the future?

HZ: It's frightening how much we are a society stuck in its evolution and even we are happy to go backwards. Amnesia,selective memory, problems of identity and most of all sectarianism. It's funny and dramatic. It's better if they start to teach the history of each sect alone, this would be maybe the history of Lebanon and it seems that what forms our identity is the food and most of all Tabbouleh!

nàB: Through your films your are in a way providing a social mapping of Lebanon. What are other subjects you hope to explore in the future?

HZ: As I did in "Darson fil Tarikh", I am using a magnifier to explore the problems of Lebanon, working against amnesia and hoping to build a critical vision of reality. Maybe some things could evolve through films and I cannot deny that all the contradictions also constitute a rich material for my future films. This will also be shown in my next film -- this time it will be a mixture of documentary and fiction.


  1. You ought to take part in a conteѕt for one of the beѕt wеbѕites on the web.
    Ӏ'm going to recommend this blog!

    my weblog; how to buy and sell cars

  2. What's up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment due to this brilliant piece of writing.

    Feel free to visit my web-site ...