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Arts and culture’s round up of the 11th annual Lebanese film festival

BEIRUT | June 11, 2014, 14h04
Par Sophie Spencer
Iloubnan presents the winners and personal favourites of this year’s Lebanese Film Festival, which concluded on Tuesday night.
Whilst we anticipate La Nuit des Mabrouk tonight, where professional Lebanese films from 2013 will be celebrated and rewarded, it is time to look back at the 11th annual Lebanese Film Festival.

In a ceremony last night at the Empire Sofil, the prestigious jury made up of the Lebanese director and Actor Nadine Labaki, the Argentinian director, Hernan Belon, Lebanese dramatist and playwright Charif Ghattas and the journalist and critic Pierre Abi Saab awarded prizes in the four categories of best first film, best experimental film, best documentary and best fiction.

Actually there were two winners for the category of best first film: Mondial 2010 by Roy Dib and The Wall by Odette Makhlouf. Subtle till the end, the 19- minute film Mondial 2010 follows a Lebanese couple on their road trip to Ramallah. Although the audience is privy to the conversations taking place between the couple, the element of mystery and confusion remains. This prize was shared by The Wall by Odette Makhlouf, dealing with memories of the civil war and their effect on a community.

This year’s new category of best experimental film was awarded to the visual artists Omar Fakhoury and Roy Samaha for their 8-minute film Incarnation of a bird from an oil painting, starring our favourite, Nasri Sayegh.

Best documentary went to Schehrazade’s Diary by the actor and director Zeina Daccache. This beautiful and deeply moving feature length documentary was filmed throughout Daccache’s drama therapy project, which she staged with the women of Baabda prison.

In the best fiction category, a special mention was awarded to the film Siham by Cyril Aris, looking at the strength of a couple who need to make a tough decision about their unborn child. However, the prize in this category was awarded to Zalfa Seurat for her film Sporting Club about a woman celebrating her 60th birthday in a peculiar way at a run-down seaside resort.

We experienced a range of emotions watching the films screened at the festival. We were shocked, disgusted, moved, inspired and delighted at different times. A particular favourite was Honeymoon 58 by Hady Zaccak, which magnificently recreates the feel of an old-style film, recounting the honeymoon of a Lebanese couple whilst their country was in chaos. E Muet by Corin Shawi, documenting the relationships of two of her close friends over a five-year period, was also a really touching and insightful piece.

There was also a moral victory for super-8 films. The old-school camera, used for the eye-catching poster of the festival, made a couple of appearances in this year’s festival, with the films Vorfreude by Charbel Kamel and Amal by Racha el Taki. These non-digital films, which contained no dialogue, produced beautifully simple effects.
#Lebanese_Film_Festival, #Cinéma, #Lebanese_cinema
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