Screening Online as part of ArteEast’s Unpacking the ArteArchive platform*: August 12 -16
Tickets Free / On Donations – RSVP HERE
Marking the one-year anniversary of the devastating Beirut blast, this program of films and videos from Lebanese artists and filmmakers conveys their direct experience assimilating the overwhelming experience of loss and trauma. Two of the works are a response to the Beirut blast, which shook the city on August 4, 2020, while the other two were created as a response to the 2006 Lebanon war. From the political and performative to the poetic, these subjective works emerged from the rubble of a collapsed present.
Featuring works by Charbel Samuel Aoun, Ali Cherri, Carol Mansour, Wael Noureddine
Shattered Beirut 6:07, Carol Mansour, Lebanon, 2020, 17min
Two months after the massive explosion that devastated Beirut, the inhabitants of the city are still reeling from the force of the blast and the accumulated evil they have been subjected to for decades. Carol Mansour explored her city in the aftermath of the blast, talking to friends and exchanging reflections on what has happened and its implications on them, in candid unscripted voice note messages. Feelings of helplessness, frustration and overwhelming anger at the political class, permeate this short film as we are taken on a tour of the destruction of homes, livelihoods and lives.
The Heap, Charbel Samuel Aoun, Lebanon, 2021, 5min
After the Beirut Blast a new body emerged in the city, rubble. A mixture of destructed materials in the social space blocked streets and sidewalks and gave form to the remaining social effect of the catastrophe. “The Heap” is an act of a breath seeking the value of decomposition, questioning the destruction as a way for a new existence; being as space instead of being in space.
An act, a tool, a plant ( Aloe Arborescens which is known for its healing properties on wounds), offering a path and a medicinal space through the remains of destruction.
July Trip, Wael Noureddine, 2006, Lebanon, 35min
Synopsis: Beirut, July 2006. The Israeli bombings strike the city. While Beirut is still on fire, the filmmaker starts a journey across his natal land. The film is not a documentary – although the images are burning real – but an essay. Using two complementary techniques, the 16 mm film and HDV, the artist questions the deep foundations of the documentary genre. The eye of the cameras goes through a country in a state of terror, it records the immediate effects of the war when it touches the civilians. Wael Noureddine films what we fear to face, and that has become a sensational icon through international press: death in its crudest angle. We can almost touch the victims, feel the bombings when they seize. But the artist also questions silence itself, the daily lives of the Lebanese, hiding behind their curtains. News images, curtains, shutters, darkness: everything hides life itself. In a poignant and harsh way, the artist shows another trip that unveils what lies under these screens: how can one face a war that won’t tell its name? The trip starts for these young people with various drugs before they roam between the ruins of their city. “Is there anybody there?” asks a man, as he lifts up the debris of their daily life. More than an escape, the trip would be here like a cry for life.
Slippage, Ali Cherri, Lebanon, 2007, 12min
Can we construct war experience narratives without any “war” images? Filmed in 2006 during the July War between Lebanon and Israel, Slippage is an attempt to escape the feeling of imprisonment, to another space and time. Trying to take possession again of our lives, just like Ilya Kabakov’s “Man Who Flew into Space from his Apartment”, we will abandon this city leaving behind an 80cm hole in the roof of our home.
*Unpacking the ArteArchive highlights ArteEast’s film and video archive, presenting curators’ selections from the ArteArchive in dialogue with contemporary voices. ArteEast’s ArteArchive is a valuable yet currently inaccessible film and video collection. Unpacking the ArteArchive allows important, mainly independent, video and filmmakers from the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas the opportunity to be seen, heard, and most significantly, studied. www.artearchive.org