Friday, December 16, 2011

In the news: Lebanon at the Dubai International Film Festival

A new documentary film seeks to find out where Lebanon is heading
Source: Gulfnews - 13.12.11

Dubai: Where is Lebanon heading? A new documentary film, which premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival, sought to ask this on Sunday. Directed by Wissam Charaf, It's All in Lebanon traces the evolution of the country from the end of the Civil War in 1990 to the present day.

Using mostly archival footage and soundbites by people from various backgrounds, Charaf, a former journalist, built his narrative via what he called the three main players in post Civil War Lebanon: the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, the Hezbollah party and the pop music industry.

"As a journalist covering post-war Lebanon, there was a wealth of stories. There was so much happening politically and in the evolution of the society," Charaf told the audience after the film's screening.

"The political propaganda was on overdrive, each relaying their messages while at the same time the entertainment industry was showing a positive and glamorous side of the country and selling dreams. It was interesting to say the least."

The 62-minute film, which includes extensive footage from Al Manar, the Hezbollah affiliated television station, and Future TV, which was founded by Hariri in 1993, also took a scathing look at the state of the media industry.

"Today the media in Lebanon is not really a media - it's like a propaganda machine… it's like a horror movie," said Charaf. "In contrast, there is hope in our movies, there is beauty."

The music industry, led by three of Lebanon's biggest pop stars - Haifa Wehbe, Nancy Ajram and Elissa - are portrayed as visions of hope of a country devastated by and the constant threat of war.

Hind Mezaina, an Emirati blogger and photographer who was at the screening, said she could relate to Charaf's message of hope but with an underlying fear.

"I think the current state of Lebanon is very well-portrayed," says Mezaina, who blogs on "I liked how it touched upon the frustration of the media and how things are controlled and manipulated. I could relate to how he feels because much of the media is similar across the Middle East.

"There were also interesting observations being made by how Lebanon, which used to be referred to as ‘the discotheque of the Middle East', used to lead the charge in demonstrations and change. Yet now that there are things happening in the Arab World, nothing is happening in Lebanon.

"But there is also hope and that despite the tensions, people are still carrying on. Still there is also an underlying fear that things will start up again soon," Mezaina added.

No comments:

Post a Comment