[Local events] Through Lebanese Eyes: Cinema Project, March 20/21

David Abel passages at rdrop.com
Fri Mar 16 21:21:36 PST 2007

Through Lebanese Eyes
Recent Documentaries by Lebanese Women

Guest curator Irina Leimbacher

March 20 & 21
7:30 pm

(see below for program descriptions)

New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny

$6 suggested donation
503.232.8269 / www.cinemaproject.org

Supported by a grant from Multnomah County Cultural Coalition

Made between 2002 and 2006, these recent documentaries by Lebanese women 
filmmakers present rare insights into contemporary Lebanon. Recognizing 
that the present is a complex and selective layering of various pasts, 
and that a nation is a conglomeration of often contested perspectives 
and experiences, they challenge simplistic visions of Lebanon and the 
Middle East. Through an engagement with a variety of individuals or 
communities, often over lengthy periods, these films refuse complacency 
to eloquently offer narratives of the present that are completely absent 
from U.S. media.
-- Irina Leimbacher

Tuesday March 20th

Dalia Fathallah [Lebanon, 2002, video, color, 60 min]

Dalia Fathallah’s Mabrouk at Tahrir, Chronicle of a Return to South 
Lebanon (2002) examines the daily gestures and political complexities of 
life in a small village in South Lebanon. The Israeli army, which had 
occupied the region from 1978 to 2000, withdrew in May 2000. Many 
inhabitants who had been forced to leave the area then returned, and 
“mabrouk at tahrir,” literally “congratulations on the liberation,” was 
an oft-repeated exclamation. The Chahrour family had fled in 1988 -- two 
sons had been active in the resistance and spent time in prison, as did 
their sister and mother. Immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, the 
family returns from their exile in Beirut to find their home looted and 
their village in a period of political transition. The neighbors with 
whom they shared a courtyard are still there, but the tensions between 
those who were forced to leave and those who, like their neighbors, 
chose to stay and in some cases collaborate, run high. Anger, 
resentment, and suspicion define many of the local relationships, while 
accusations of collaboration or complicity, and political rivalry 
between Hezbollah and the communist militants, are a constant of village 
life. After accompanying the Chahrour family on their voyage back south, 
Dalia Fathallah chronicles the life of this village less than ten miles 
from the Israeli border over a year-and-a-half period. During this time, 
some interpersonal issues are resolved while others are not, political 
campaigns are waged, and elections are held. What makes Fathallah’s film 
remarkable is the care, attention, and respect it brings to all of its 
myriad subjects and her ability to portray a complex slice of political 
and social life without succumbing to oversimplification or the desire 
to create resolution. Four years after the film was completed, it 
remains an extraordinary portrait of a southern Lebanese village and the 
collective histories, individual emotions, and political allegiances 
that shaped it at the time. Today this village has certainly been 
transformed once again, perhaps even obliterated.”
-- Irina Leimbacher

Wednesday March 21st

Lamia Joreige [Lebanon, 2003, video, color, 55 min]

“During the Lebanese civil war, thousands of people disappeared. In most 
cases, the bodies were not found and the circumstances of their 
disappearance never known. Today, I travel through Beirut, asking the 
inhabitants I encounter, one same question: Do you know of anyone who 
was kidnapped here during the war?

My investigation carries me through the many districts around the “Green 
line”, which used to divide Beirut between East and West, and where 
militias set up their checkpoints, the scenes of many kidnappings, and 
crimes. I thereby attempt to trigger the process of memory and to reveal 
the multiplicity of existing discourses on the war and the immensity of 
the drama. As I cross town and discover places laden with history, I 
draw a personal map of this city.”
-- Lamia Joriege

Rania Stephan [2006, video, color, 47 min]

Shot in the midst of and immediately following the Israeli attacks on 
Lebanon in July and August 2006, Stephan gives us eight brief glimpses 
into what it means to be caught in the middle of a war. From workers, 
ambulance crews and refugees in Beirut to the rubble of villages in the 
South, the video provides a sense of the rage, resignation, and trauma 
caused by war.
-- Irina Leimbacher

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