Thursday, February 9, 2012

1958 - ١٩٥٨

Trailer for "1958"

While waiting for the screening of the movie, people were wondering among different materials in the exhibition named "Revolution vs. Revolution" at the Beirut art center. When the screening starts, one can deduce why the movie blends naturally in the theme of the ongoing exhibition. As the name suggests, the "essay" movie (as described by the director), the movie revolve around the year of the birth of Salhab and the different events that stormed his home country during that time. Based on the testimony of his mother (the pillar of the movie as called by the director), the story of the internal violent conflicts were told in parallel, while the testimony focuses more on the mother's feelings when going to Dakar and having her first child. The father testimony was absent, while other testimonies were added to give some equilibrium (was it needed?) to the story. Mixed with few French poems written by the director, some archive footage, and dramatized scenes, the movie offered the audience a retrospective on an integral part of the Lebanese History that was chosen to be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beirut Hotel (review) - بيروت بالليل

Trailer for "Beirut Hotel"

Lebanese audience watched this feature in defiance to the infamous ban that is imposed, and proved that such censorship is rather meaningless in a connected world. Arte channel, a main contributor to the movie, screened Beirut Hotel earlier in January. The movie was scheduled to be released in Lebanese theaters prior to the TV release, but the ban prevented this from happening. The movie is carefully made, and it was selected for many festivals, there is no clear reason why it wasn't selected for Cannes this year although it was supported by "The Atelier". The actress Hamze was playing one of her best roles in her career, thanks to Arbid's direction. Nevertheless, few problems arose related to the erotic scenes in the original trailer. Overall, Arbid is proving once more her great talent by a successful third movie attracting audience (Western and Arabs). The plot revolves around a love affair intersecting with a spy story. As in her previous movie, the main cast is divided between a French actor, and an Arab one. They met by chance, and the French begin stalking the Arab until they bond together. The cinematography is rather eye-candy, revealing an appealing Beirut in a colorful picture. The unfortunate ban have contributed to raising awareness among the population and promoting the movie (approximately 1.5 million watched the TV release including 700,000 in France alone + 34,000 on the web). The last chance to watch Beirut Hotel on arte is scheduled on February 4th 01:40 GMT+1.