Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thoughts about Cannes 2008

This year in Cannes, there were only one Lebanese movie, halfing the outcome of the last year, which does not reflect a growth in movie industry in this country, yet there have been some notable releases outside Cannes (Falling from earth, Khalass, Under the bombs,...). A post here will be dedicated later to the movie in question "I want to see".
Instead, I'll discuss in this post two non-Lebanese movies.

The fist movie is the latest Palestinian movie, "Salt of this sea" (ملح هذا البحر) by the Palestinian director AnneMarie Jacir, who is living currently in the US.
The movie shows a respectable work, with all elements done in a really professional way. In my opinion, the writer/director aims in this movie is to reach the heart and mind of western public through tough questions and facts about the stolen land. Such questions that are the most obvious for people in the region are recycled also to target Arab as well, even if it was not direct.
What I appreciate about most Palestinian movie that I've seen so far, is that they are not afraid of sharing a political opinion (in this case just facts) in movies, unlike some of the Lebanese movies where they try to avoid, or just surfacing such subjects, leaving the viewer isolated from what the directors consider as taboo subjects. After all, artists purpose was always to blur lines, pushing limits further, etc.
I urge every one to go watch this piece of art/history, the actors were great, scenes are breathtaking, and simply because it's beautiful. It might answers some questions, fix answers we know already, and enlightening our mind with some magic from a stolen land facing a daily life of progressive oppression, repression, occupation, war crimes under international silence,...

"Salt of this sea" Trailer

The other movie, was a shameful selection in Cannes this year, Cannes committee decided that it will be a good idea to include an movie about Sabra and Shatila massacre which took place in 1982 in Palestinian camps in Beirut during the civil war. I haven't seen this movie (and probably will not in near future), but what I was able to dig from the trailer and scenes I've seen in the Internet cloud, it focuses on Israelis paranoia and neglects the tragedy of the lost souls in those unfortunate camps left unprotected. Pushing the blame further towards Lebanese who contributed to such an unexplainable behavior, and putting Israelis as a distant accomplice. Whatever the case, I believe that such movie will remain a dark spot in the 2008 selection, because the director of this movie should be convicted in a war crime court for contributing to such massacre, and taking the movie as a witness and as piece of evidence with the negligible scenes it described. But instead Cannes people decided that honoring criminals for their act is a good thing to do for a reason that escaped my reasoning.
It is shame as well that no long feature were produced by Lebanese nor Palestinian giving such a historical tragedy in human history what it deserves. It surely falls on the taboo side for Lebanese directors.

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