The 2014 edition of the Lebanese Film Festival (LFF) kicked off on Friday the 6th of June and ended on Tuesday the 10th of June. It was the LFF’s 11th edition, fulfilling its goal to “help Lebanese cinematographers show their films, meet with their audience and acquire basic financial support for their future projects” for yet another year.
Here’s a list of my personal favorites (in no particular order). Please note that I couldn’t attend all screenings and will therefore present a partial list. For the Official Selection, please click here. Descriptions are from the LFF website.
Mondial 2010 by Roy Dib
Mondial 2010 is a film on love and place. A Lebanese couple decides to take a road trip to Ramallah. The film is recorded with their camera as they chronicle their journey. The viewers are invited through the couple’s conversations into the universe of a fading city.
Birds of September by Sarah Francis
Hidden inside a glass vehicle roaming the streets of Beirut, the director’s camera observes the city restlessly looking for something, for someone. Along the way, several people are invited to share a personal moment in this moving confessional.
Conflict 1949 | 1979 by Josef Kaluf
The lamb borrows the wolf’s mask for bravery. Exposing one’s true feelings is never an easy task. The son chooses to confront his ex-militant father; he wants to know, he wants to be sure: “Who are you Daddy? I need to know… Murderer or Hero?””The truth hurts, but silence kills.”
Embers by Tamara Stepanyan
A dialogue between two generations. A dialogue to evoke an era which is no more; a past time revived in the present by the memories of those who have known it. The subject of the film is “a feeling”. The feeling of loss and disappearance of a time of which only invisible remnants remain.
My Father looks like Abdel Nasser by Farah Kassem
Moustapha is in his late 70’s. He is a poet suffering from a sleeping disorder. He belongs to a past generation. His daughter comes to visit him regularly. She films the life, poetry and memories surrounding her father after the death of his wife. In the intimacy of the father’s whispered revelations, she tries to find answers to questions she never dared to ask.
Roubama by Rakan Mayasi
When Kareem’s sentiments collide with the notion of time, his imagination succumbs to a vicious reality. Will his love be rendered non-existent? Inspired by a poem by Mahmoud Darwich, “Roubama” tells the story of a waiting refugee.
Sheherazade’s Diary by Zeina Daccache
Imprisoned women, whether mothers or daughters, take center stage in Sheherazade’s Diary, a documentary filmed throughout the drama therapy/theater project set up by Zeina Daccache in 2012 in Baabda’s Prison. the women inmates delve into the depths of personal experience and confront patriarchy as they prepare and present the first theater play staged inside an Arab Women’s prison.
Winner: Best Documentary
Troubled Waters by Toufic Khreich
After 27 years of absence, Eskandar comes back. Once in Beirut, he is haunted by his childhood memories, swinging him back and forth between past and present. The same experiences that sent him away as a child lead him back on his path as an adult.