The ALFILM Spotlight is dedicated to Lebanon entitled From Civil War to Chaos: A Tribute to Filmic Resistance. Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, with the support of Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient and under the patronage of Volker Schlöndorff, it sheds light on the abuses and mismanagements that led to the current crisis Lebanon is battling, through the lens of filmmakers who creatively take their destiny into their own hands, transforming trauma and experiences into films and thus actively shaping resistance.
Two panel discussions with filmmakers from Lebanon and representatives of ALFILM's partners Beirut DC and the Beirut Cinematheque accompany the Spotlight program. The issue of The Multiple Roles of Archives as well as the question: How to make cinema in times of crisis? will be actively discussed and addressed within a socio-political context.
Friday, April 22, 2022, 5 pm
Topic: The Multiple Roles of Archives in Building Counter-Narratives: from the Personal to the Collective
Panelists: Joana Hadjithomas (filmmaker, Memory Box), Mathilde Rouxel (general delegate of the JOCELYNE SAAB'S FRIENDS ASSOCIATION and restoration project manager)
Hosted by: Nour Ouayda (project manager of the CINEMATHEQUE BEIRUT)
In the absence of any access to official documentation that can propose narratives of Lebanon's collective history, the (re)use of archives in cinema is a way to activate the archival object, revealing the hidden and secret (hi)stories they contain. The images, sounds and texts, private or public, reappear in a new context and encounter new temporalities thus becoming valuable palimpsests of a past, present and future. This panel is followed by an introduction of the work of the CINEMATEHEQUE BEIRUT and a screening of the short film Topology of an Absence by Rami el Sabbagh and Sharif Sehnaoui.
Topology of an Absence
Documentary, directors: Rami el Sabbagh and Sharif Sehnaoui, Lebanon, 2021, 30 min., no spoken dialogue
Combining music and film, this work is based on archival footage from the 1920s captured in Lebanon by Pathé and Gaumont. Topology of an Absence proposes a new way to look at this archive, a hundred years after unnamed camera operators filmed the city of Beirut and captured bodies, faces, and eyes.
Saturday, April 23, 2022, 5 pm
Topic: Making Cinema in Times of Crisis
Panelists: Myriam Sassine (producer Costa Brava, Lebanon), Ely Dagher (director The Sea Ahead) and Simon El Habre (director Re-Destruction)
Hosted by: Rabih El-Khoury (ALFILM programmer)
A revolution, a financial crisis, the devaluation of the national currency, the emigration of the youth, political instability, mounting corruption, a massive blast that changed Beirut’s face for good and a global pandemic. Since 2019, an inconceivable set of setbacks is plunging Lebanon into an unprecedented crisis. Most of its businesses are fragilized, including the arts and culture sector. How is the film community affected by this state of turmoil? How does it deal with it? And how does such an endless level of uncertainty affect its creative input? This panel is preceded by the screening of the short films Struck by Sarah Kaskas, Recovery by Jean-Claude Boulos and A Declaration of War by Ely Dagher, as part of the program Beirut, One Year Later, with the support of the Lebanese cultural association Beirut DC.
Spotlight Shorts: Beirut, One Year Later
One Year after the Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020, four Beiruti filmmakers reflect on their experience during and after the tragedy and examine how the explosion affected their lives and their city.
Documentary, director: Sarah Kaskas, Lebanon, 2021, 6 min., Arab. with En. ST
After the original trauma, the wounds recur, again and again, day after day. Shattered images from a shattered memory. Is there a way to forget, and should we forget? The wounds may help us survive, remember, and avoid other endings, for, in this place, they are never final. That is the collective state: the darkness of the past is the present and the future.
Documentary, director: Jean-Claude Boulos, Lebanon, 2021, 6 min., Arab. with En. ST
At the moment of the explosion, the end of the world, bodies, buildings, roads, and cities may shatter. Perhaps the universe itself breaks apart. But the most severe fragmenting remains that of memory. A picture here and a sound there are vaguely reconstituted. Can a future be built from such a memory? Can it rebuild what was lost? Is it time to leave?
A Declaration of War
Documentary, director: Ely Dagher, Lebanon, 2021, 6 min., Arab. with En. ST
The explosion was instant but its devastating energy didn’t just disappear. Energy doesn’t disappear, it moves from one thing to the other. Dissipating through us; anger, pain, hope, despair. But every morning, light screams at us to get out of bed, as days go by. The explosion left an open wound…where will all its energy go?
Friday, April 22 + Saturday, April 23
Start: 5 pm respectively