BEIRUT: POST/PROTRACTED CIVIL WAR
Wednesday, August 25
Cultural works made in post-war Lebanon are often labyrinthine in form and content, as artists and their subjects attempt to understand, navigate, and resist the sectarian power structures that led to the war, and reckon with its boundless destruction. As the Lebanese people continue to live under protracted war infrastructures, the questions raised in the August films by Mai Masri and Jean Chamoun, Jalal Toufic and Graziella Rizkallah Toufic, and Ghassan Salhab remain as relevant as ever.
Now / Maintenant (2021, 12m) dir Ghassan Salhab. In Ghassan Salhab’s recent short filmic poems and political documentaries, he deliberately uses minimal images to make eloquent expressions of the desire for a new reality. As Salhab puts it: “The uprising in Lebanon was seriously starting to run out of steam; the first lockdown abruptly interrupted it, temporarily, we think. Now, as Bernard Noël Wrote, we must raise our fists and fight the memory.”
Suspended Dreams (1992, 48m) dir Mai Masri & Jean Chamoun. Suspended Dreams links the stories of four people––two ex-militia fighters from Beirut, a woman searching for her missing husband, and a playwright from southern Lebanon––who attempt to reconstruct their lives after Lebanon’s long and devastating civil war. Each shares their lives and hardships in the aftermath of fifteen years of war.
A Trilogy on Cities and Their Imaginal Complements (2011-2016, 45m) dir Jalal Toufic & Graziella Rizkallah Toufic. A trilogy about three cities and the ways they relate to one another, these short films connect post-war Beirut, Istanbul, and Hong Kong and demonstrate that certain realms cannot be reached by these cities’ most characteristic modes of transportation.