Some editions of the life of a festival own a heavier symbolic weight. In the summer of 2006, “..né.à Beyrouth” did not occur. The meeting was planned, as from five years, at the end of August. However, at the end of August 2006, hardly seven days after the end of the fights, in Beirut, there was not enough energy to technically set up a festival.
The 2007 edition took its revenge. It wasn’t supposed to look at all like the sixth Né à Beyrouth was meant to be if it took place. The same reasons that drove the event to be postponed make it today crucial and at the center of the presented films. However, “..né.à Beyrouth” do not particularly intend to play the role (vaguely unhealthy) of the “war film festival”, but it is nevertheless evident that every recent Lebanese film carries the mark of the series of events that shook Lebanon since 2005. We recognize at least one event related to that: it is always, on a more or less long term, a trigger, calling for a need to film in order to testify, to relearn to look and mostly to ask oneself a series of questions: what does my city look like, a city they also call a nation? Who are the last generations that knew peace, and only peace? Can we still to talk to each other? What does the mujadara taste like this morning?
What kind of points of views we will be meeting here? The events of two last years told in every possible way (up to paradox: tell that it is impossible to tell about), the story in its chaos but also in its most simple banality (a day like the others), the story that changes into an intimate geography. To which have been added a handful of solitary films that, without knowing, tried to reinvent the link between generations, through word and archive, or that express the need to go far throughout civil Lebanese archeology, even before the war of 1975, the memory as natural counterpoint to a situation that would block the horizon. All this bawling freely and openly like all sorts of collective psychoanalysis.
We have the habit to say that Lebanon undergoes the war of others; we will see in theses movies the war of each one. It is almost the same thing. It is not far from being the opposite.
The list of videos:
HOME MOVIES, NAB
Music by Zeid Hamdan
They come from the past to us, but they are our friends, our parents, our lovers… And they are magnificent actors filmed by ingenious strangers. Here is a curious movie selection, filmed by Lebanese amateurs between the ’50 and the ’80, in super 8 and in 8mm.
Self standing movies. We program them today in order to push the horizon of our cinema. Because, unfortunately, that kind of art has never been enough considered in our country. Today, filmmakers have a hunger to film. Because filming is a Necessity. Only for this year, we have received about forty short-movies, made with basic means. This number is a manifesto by itself. While waiting that this miracle finds the right means, we have gone digging into the intimate cinema, a magical and vulnerable memory, with its falling stars…
In our society, the intimate is subdued. It is shameful to expose oneself outside the conventional frames. First person films are very rare. Through this section, we rehabilitate a self-cult, quite worthy and modern. For nothing is more usual than to film somebody eating or sleeping… It is reality-tv somehow.
Still, in these amateur films, people know and like each other. This filmmaker’s love toward his actor is the love of a father for his son, a young lady for her fiancé, a young man for his car… Love is the reason of being in each plan.
And throughout theses love movies, we will watch our history passing. We will discover an undamaged city as we can only imagine it. We will revisit a whole period of time, of parties and adornments, forever gone. We will enter in the intimacy of people we don’t recognize, people we will never find out if war affected them. Familiar faces that strangely look like the ones surrounding us. Mysterious strangers who become our friends at the end of each projection.
Those films found mostly in the Sunday’s markets, back in old shops, forgotten in some boxes, tell our life, our romances, our birthdays, our vacations, our travels… Some ordinary stories maybe, yet we would have never imagined their richness on film.
To show them to you, we present them in five sections. We have hardly edited them, in order to undistort them, based on the principle that people who filmed them wanted them to be this way. Besides the cinema pleasure that those films give us, they hold the proof that our parents’ memories are tolerated. The proof that, before war, our country was beautiful. The proof of a colorful past!
LA MARCHE TURQUE, Ziad Antar
3 min / super 8mm / colors / without dialogue
script Ziad Antar/ photography Ziad Antar / sound Ziad Antar / editing Ziad Antar
As an extension of his work about the daily and domestic space and about the limit between the artist’s video and the “how to make” a video, the artist creates a product that resembles to a recipe of Mdardara (a rice and lentil based middle-eastern dish). Filmed with a super 8 camera, natural lighting, this short video presents an illustrated diagram of a high temperance
LE BAISER, Chadi Aoun
5 min / animation / black & white / without dialogue
script Chadi Aoun / production yelo studio / photography Chadi Aoun / sound Chadi Aoun / editing Chadi Aoun / special effects Chadi Aoun
Under the sky with lot of stars, somewhere in the Orient, two people are getting closer to each other: the images of a one night's love
RAWANE’S SONG, Mounira Al Solh
The Netherlands (2006)
7 min / digital / colors / V.O EN – subtitle: English
script Mounira Al Solh / photography Mounira Al Solh / sound Boban Bajic / editing Mounira Al Solh / music Lina Badr
Through a fictional story and a pair of red shoes, this video speaks ironically about identity and war. The fiction is not totally fictitious and the pleasure of the game is not always as playful as it is suggested.
WIDE POWER, Khaled Ramadan
12 min / digital / colors / V.O EN - Subtitle english
script Khaled Ramadan / production Chamber of public secrets / photography Khaled Ramadan / sound Stine Hoxbroe / editing Khaled Ramadan
Visual dialogue about the re-presentation of ones’ self and other. This 12min video is about the power of lenses and objectives, as well as representation and memories. The video centers on the struggle for or against self representation. It tackles in a narrative way the notion of visual power and the risk of visual documentation diversion, putting it somehow at the service of the “orientalism”. It tells the story of a video’s creator, Khaled D. Ramadan, who grew up in the chaos and the confusion of the Lebanese civil war and whose life has been structured and marked by the war facts. As a video creator and a photograph, Ramadan establishes parallelisms between images of him took by others and images that he takes of others.
MDARDARA, Ziad Antar
3 min / super 8mm / colors / without dialogue / script Ziad Antar/ photography Ziad Antar / sound Ziad Antar / editing Ziad Antar
As an extension of his work about the daily and domestic space and about the limit between the artist’s video and the “how to make” a video, the artist creates a product that resembles to a recipe of Mdardara (a rice and lentil based middle-eastern dish). Filmed with a super 8 camera, natural lighting, this short video presents an illustrated diagram of a high temperance.
BEIRUT, Elie Dagher
4 min / animation / color / no dialogue
script Elie Dagher / production Alba / image Elie Dagher/ sound Elie Dagher / editing Elie Dagher / music Mewar / special effects Elie Dagher
In a time when Beirut water reserves had run dry, the city’s habitants got plunged into chaos and craziness...
WASSAT BAYROUT 1992, Rachad El Jisr - Akram Zaatari
10 min / super 8 / black & white / silent / 1993 / Lebanon
JEUNES ET INNOCENTS, Nadim Tabet
– English subtitles.
script Nadim Tabet / production ..né.à Beyrouth / sound Sandra Tabet / editing Sabine Pagliaruci / music òòòòScrambled Eggs
The film follows the teenagers moving in the street of Beirut after the war of summer 2006