Thursday, August 30, 2007

A perfect day - يوم اخر

Trailer for "A perfect day"

The story of A perfect day, like its name indicates, happens only in one day. It starts with a mother speaking to her sleeping son, trying to communicate messages during his sleep with a hope to get its effect during the awakening. It's about ghosts that are haunting the city and/or the country. They are the men that have been disappeared during the civil war, and their families still living with their ghosts ... It's mainly the idea of the film, the role of the mother and son will consist on how they are living in denial and trying to accept that fact (you'll find that both are living the two situation, but in a different way). Discussion are rare in this movie. In fact, during the last half-hour there are some five words that have been exchanged, but this doesn't stop communication by breathing, sleeping, touch, ... Julia Kassar's acting was enchanting, it almost eclipses the roles of other actors, but we should not forget that she's an experienced talented lady after all.
While watching, you see everything done right, but yet feeling that it doesn't reflect real Lebanese life. I'm not aware of the background of the directors/writers, but in the situation that the main characters were playing, you can notice that religion was forced out of the scene. You might understand that for the youth in the film, but with the mother, and her neighborhood, you feel it somewhat wrong.
Overall, I found the pictures in the film ran smoothly ... I was a bit disappointed though that I've seen A lost man before I saw this one, since this one looked for me as a prequel of the latest Arbid movie. I found both discussing the same issue but from different point of view. In this one, Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige centered their story around the family of a disappeared man, while Danielle Arbid approach followed the path of what've been thought as a man who disappeared during the civil war. Both approach where great, and I found that when you watch both, you cannot ignore the links between both movies.
You should not miss a nice meaningful movie.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The last man - أطلال

Poster for "The last man"

The last man (Le dernier homme or أطلال ) is one of the few Lebanese films (and maybe the first one) that tries to draw a completely fictional film which have nothing to do with the real life in Lebanon. After all who said that a film should represent the life of the country where it came from? It's a thriller movie that does not try to scare: A doctor who's feeling that something not right, keeps finding dead people that he knows، their blood being sucked from their bodies. The hero have a very difficult role where he got to act alone in lots of scenes.
Some shots with a tap dancer where added to the film to "add beauty to the film in the same way an artist adds colors to a painting" as the director Ghassan Salhab said.
Although that this kind of movie isn't intended to the large audience, I found it original and worth seeing.
I wasn't able to find its trailer anywhere, I'd appreciate if someone who have it, would send it to me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

In the Battlefields - معارك حب

In the battlefields trailer

In the battlefields is among my preferred Lebanese films. It's an auto-biography of the writer/director Danielle Arbid, mixed with some fiction. Although the story tells how a friendship between two girls of different ages evolves through the time of war, throughout the film we see that this friendship became more important for the little girl than the family relation itself. Some may find the film itself as violent, but before coming to such conclusion, is there a way to escape this fact when we tell a story about the time of war?
One of the best scenes there is when Arbid gets in the car (yes there is a shot when Arbid appears in the film), and the old lebanese song starts. I liked as well Carmen Lebbos acting, she's a really skilled actress, we found her in a great part of new Lebanese films as a mother, but a different one every time.
The ending scene is a success: I loved it, yet we see in a way a similar ending scene in the coming film "A lost man".
Even though the film is the first long feature film for Arbid, I found it reflecting life in war in an honest way. The film was awarded in Cannes 2004 during the Directors' Fortnight. But I was a bit astound that the film weren't celebrated in Lebanon with a huge croud, Maybe because Lebanese during that period weren't interrested of hearing about a war that they thought they put it behind ... After all the real issue that the film was discussing is about the cause of that civil war that ravaged Lebanon for some 15+ years (is it really over). It shows that the war started from inside, since even in the same family no one can support the other. Denying though the claims that it's the others war on Lebanese soil (it might be true, but if Lebanese weren't an accepting subject it wouldn't happen). I really appreciated how the director elaborated this idea into the movie in such a successful manner, and don't think that it have been studied this way by anyone before.