Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lebanese Films selected at the IFFR (Roterdam)

Siska, 2012, Lebanon, 21 min.
A video portrait of Lebanon’s national electricity building as an homage to a modernist project, linked to the very construction of Lebanon’s modern state. 

The video portrays Lebanon’s national electricity building, shot on Super-8 and accompanied by droning noises reminiscent of experimental electronic sounds of the 1950s and 1960s. It presents an homage to a modernist project linked to the very construction of Lebanon’s modern state.

Sandra Ghosn, 2011, France, Lebanon, 5 min.
Why do we want to be seen on Facebook? And how? To find out, the artist decided to emulate the profile pictures of a number of Facebook members. 

The artist imitates a succession of profile pictures of Facebook users in a reflection on the social networking site as a breeding ground for narcissism. With its audio track evolving from bomb sounds to entertaining J-pop, the piece evokes an evolution from harsh reality to denial.

"Master-Slave Dialectic"
Paul Hage Boutros, 2011, Lebanon, 7 min
Who is the boss? The director, thinking and self-assured or the camera, a mindless machine? A power struggle with unexpected results. 

The video presents an encounter between a self-conscious being and a non-self-conscious object, whereby the director is engaged in a struggle with the camera in order to enslave it, only to find that this does not give him the expected control over the machine.

"Of Heroes, Football and All That Remains of My Childhood"
Lynn Kodeih, 2011, Lebanon, 25 min.
Questioning what it means to be a 'revolutionary' today, the artist explores hopes and disillusions in the context of recent Arab history in this live... 

Taking as her starting point the heritage of 'impossible change' - a fatalistic acceptance of the impossibility of change that characterizes her generation of Arabs - the artist explores the concept of 'the revolutionary' as the necessity arises to define her place vis-à-vis the recent events in the Arab world.

"Out of Focus"
Salah Saouli, 2011, Lebanon, 60 min.
A vision of the city of Beirut at a crucial moment of transition from war to peace that draws the observer into a quasi-physical engagement. 

This installation presents a vision of a city at a crucial moment of transition. Four videos, each of which presents images from the centre of Beirut in the early 1990s, convey the impression of a panoramic view of the streets of Beirut as the city seems to hold its breath and regain its strength after the end of the Civil War. Located somewhere between fantasy and reality, real and virtual, the images move in an interaction between past and present and draw the observer into an almost physical engagement.

"Pipe Dreams"
Ali Cherri, 2011, Lebanon, France, 5 min.
A memorable phone call between the Syrian cosmonaut Muhammed Faris (part of a Russian space mission) and the late president Hafez al-Assad. 

In a face-to-face encounter between a PVM monitor and a pocket projector, the installation combines archival images, images from the current Syrian uprising and constructed images. Two moments in the history of contemporary Syria that echo the situation across all Arab countries: a memorable phone call between the Syrian cosmonaut Muhammed Faris, who was part of the Russian mission to the Mir Space Station, and the late president Hafez al-Assad, and the removal of the statue of Assad by the Syrian government to prevent its destruction by the demonstrators.

"The Story of Milk and Honey"
Basma Alsharif, 2011, Lebanon, 10 min.
An unknown author fails to write a love story as images and sounds develop into a search for human perception of history and truth. 

This film tells the story of the failure of an unknown author to write a love story. Images, letters and songs are linked through a voice-over narrative and develop into a detailed search for the human perception of history, truth, images and sounds.

" The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni"
Rania Stephan, 2011, Lebanon, 68 min.
A rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt through the work of one of its most revered stars, Soad Hosni, an exceptional artist... 

The Egyptian Soad Hosni was born in 1943 and committed suicide in 2001. Hosni, one of the most celebrated Arab actresses, played in 82 features. Rania Stephan reconstructed her life, just using fragments on VHS films in which Hosni was a shining star.
The film is divided into three acts, a prologue and epilogue, and not only tells the life story of the versatile film star, but also of Egyptian cinema and society. In the first part, we see the actress sing and dance and a cheerful gathering of boys, girls and family. In the second part, we see Hosni - who in reality had countless affairs - as a desirable woman in sometimes complex relationships. Act three runs parallel to a change in the mood of society: there is violence against and oppression of women.
It isn’t only the body of Hosni that disappeared; this form of cinema and VHS as a medium also disappeared - three disappearances.

"Transparent Evil"
Roy Samaha, 2011, Lebanon, Germany, 27 min.
Having travelled to Egypt to complete a commissioned work, the artist and his friend get caught up in the events of the Egyptian revolution. 

In early 2011, the filmmaker set out together with a friend to undertake a commissioned project to follow in the footsteps of James Bruce and document the Nile river from Alexandria to Aswan, but he got caught up in the events of the Egyptian revolution.

"Trespass the Salt"
Larissa Sansour, Youmna Chlala, 2012, Lebanon, Palestine, United
An investigation of the nuanced relationship of Europe and the Middle East through a fictitious and lavish feast, where humour and the grotesque converge. 

In this collaborative project, Sansour and Chlala investigate the nuanced relationship of Palestine and Lebanon around a lavish and surreal dinner table. Set in a virtual and imagined space, the film examines cultural and power dynamics in the region and with the West through humour and fiction.

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