Lebanese Film Festival 2012: barely an attempt 02

Photos by: ©Tony el Hage/Toromoro

part 1: link

Lebanese Film Festival 2012: barely an attempt 2/2

By Admin I: We’re wrapping up our previous review post, skimming through the Lebanese Film Festival from our very subjectively objective design corner, and umm we were talking about the movie selections; Here we go!

Une journee en 59’ by Nadim Tabet is a black and white silent movie happening during 1959, a la ‘the artist’ which seems visually interesting with lots and lots of Arabic spelling mistakes: if you’re too frenchy to use Arabic, just don’t do it.

Blue Line’ by Alain Sauma was already awarded internationally, but still, this is exactly the caliber of movies to be seen at a festival (when you feel the hate, you know the movie is worth it)

Jasad and the queen of contradictions’ by Amanda Homsi-Ottosson is an interesting documentary about sexuality in the middle east, fine, typical and fun using the right blend of content and commercial, that did honestly get too commercial/promotional at some point of the work.

Aftermath’ by Wissam Tanios, a documentary with a drama overdose and a roller-coaster between the emotional and the cheesy totally showing an amateur student work (which is not denied) that usually fails to fine-tune drama, and gets too involved in the content forgetting about dosage. The movie is a good element in the whole disturbing set of selections, but somehow should’ve only participated to a student film festival.

The documentary was awarded ‘best documentary’ at the closing event; weird enough.

Taxi Beirut’ by Hady Zaccak was probably one of the most interesting selections of the year. Hilarious, culturally engaging and REAL. It’s the amount of hyper realism that drives you to react and interact with an everyday topic that indirectly tackles bigger socio-economic issues. Brilliant!

The ultimate catastrophe

Despite the very low number of attendees at the screening of ‘The story of the virgin butterfly’ by Walid Aouni, people started leaving the theater minutes after its start. Expecting a piece of oriental dance, art direction and classical oriental music, the crowd was shocked by the an old play, poorly shot and visually over processed that drains all your senses until you mercifully end it.

Pierre Abi Saab, why don’t you talk for 3 days, it would still sound more interesting than the whole festival (long title, we’re biased, I know)

One of the most interesting events of this festival was a conference entitled ‘images et imaginaires, quelle place au cinema? By Pierre Abi Saab, Gerard Bejjani and Simon el Habr, even if it shifted from its title to talk about the Lebanese cinematic attempts in general, still the debate was highly interesting especially when lead by Abi Saab, an art critic and journalist (way beyond other specific jobs and titles). The conversation was rich and passionate but too short, constantly interrupted by the unorganized organizing team.

Rencontre Avec Nadine

Whether you think Nadine Labaki’s attempts were bad, too commercial, unoriginal or flat, she’s probably one of the most controversial figures especially if you were attending the ‘pre and post’ her event at the Lebanese Film Festival. Everyone hated Nadine, everyone criticized her work for too many reasons and still clapped after every answer of hers: hypocrisy at its best. Nadine was highly realistic hiding the enormous gap between her and her fellow local filmmakers, the gap initiated by the fact that she managed to drag 113000 then 350,000 human beings to the movies, the same audience that ‘failed’ making this festival exist the way it should be.

Dear Lebanese cinematographers: the key is to work on your audience, your egos won’t keep paying for production costs.

Anticipating next year’s reshuffled festival!

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5 comments
  1. Tarek said:

    I participated with an experimental movie in the 2010 edition of the festival (on the opening night no less), which contained some very interesting work. The one that won was a stunning piece by Vatche vatche boulghourjian called “The fifth column” (a movie spoken entirely in Armenian)… Everything worked in the festival that year – and Nadine Labaki was nowhere to be seen (no correlation between the two incidents).

    • Admin I said:

      this year’s event was disappointing.. I didn’t attend another year’s festival to compare, but it was just a comparison with other design/visual arts events.. thanks for reading Tarek!

  2. EsteemedAdCritic said:

    There seems to be a trend among Lebanese filmmakers to make their films as weird and cryptic as possible.
    If you’re seeking praise for your pretentious art-house wannabe failure, just share it with your mother.

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