Friday, August 21, 2009

LFF 2009 - Day 2

Day 2 offered a diverse selection of genres, from shorts to documentaries, from animations to experimentals.

‘Tout le monde pouvait y trouver son bonheur’, as they say in French. Suitable for all tastes…

Day 2 was also a day of novelties for the festival:

- 2 cinemas instead of 1: though we, the Festival organizers, were afraid not to be able to fill up two theaters, we were happily surprised that both were full to the brim almost throughout the whole evening.

-Video clips, a new genre: which attracted a lot of new faces to the Festival – we hope they’ll come back for the rest of the program. Lars Gass, director of The Oberhausen Short Film Festival, our Foreign Guest, presented its selection of German clips. By the way, Oberhausen was the first film festival to screen video clips, as explained by Mr. Gass. These were followed by a couple of our own Lebanese clips by Zeid Hamdan, Youmna Habbouche, Pedros Tamizian… ‘It was a good idea to screen video clips. Some are experimental, others tend to be more like video art or animations… It’s also a great opportunity for Lebanese underground bands to show their videos as they will probably never be broadcast on Lebanese TV, ‘ confessed a regular festival spectator.

During the first showing in Theater 1, the Festival yet again welcomed a battlefield of spectators for the screening of shorts by Sabine Chamaa, Eileen Hofer, Talal Khouri and a cinematic essay by Shirin Abu Shaqra. Some were fortunate enough to find seats; others were spread along the entire staircase, almost one on top of the other or stood in rows at the end of the theater like at a rock concert. All four movies were punctuated by heartfelt applause and cheers and whistles of appreciation.

Seating conditions were a bit better during the second showing as everyone could find a seat though the theater remained full. Luckily, as the film on screen was a long documentary by Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Khiam 2000-2007. ‘Deep’, ‘intense’ were adjectives used by viewers at the end of the show. “It was a long documentary, but so well written that our curiosity was satisfied throughout,” explained a thrilled spectator.

Besides video clips, Theater 2’s first showing offered animations by Joanne Baz, Maryline Farah and documentaries by Corine Shawi and Roy Arida. Put aside a minor ‘chips’ incident (those who were in the theater at the time will understand!), the rest of the screening proceeded seamlessly with a cheerful crowd.

The last showing of the evening was for those who are not afraid of the weird and the new. Experimental or rather cinematic essays by Ziad Antar, Gheith Al Amine, Sirine Fattouh and Carine Doumit brought the evening to a weird but interesting end.

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