Present-day Beirut, a city seven times destroyed, and re-built as often. A city in a constant state of construction, mutating, in the same manner as the film’s main character, Soraya, and also Leyla, Tarek, Nadim and Haïdar.
Born in Dakar, Senegal. In addition to making his own films and video works, Ghassan Salhab collaborates on various scenarios, and teaches film in Lebanon. He has directed six feature films: Beyrouth Fantôme (1998); Terra Incognita (2002); The Last Man (2006); 1958 (2009); The Mountain (2011) and The Valley (2014)… All films have been selected in various international film festivals. He has also published his texts and articles in various magazines, and a book, “Fragments du Livre du naufrage” (Amers Editions) in 2012.
As part of Moussem Cities: Beirut (08–11/02), BOZAR wants to draw the attention of the Brussels’ general public to the representation of the city of Beirut and Lebanon in works by two Lebanese authors: Vatche Boulghourjian and Ghassan Salhab.
Between cinema d’auteur and films for entertainment, Lebanese cinematographic expression tackles delicate issues in the socio-political discourse of the country. The haziness of identity, the tragedy of mourning that still needs to be done, the lack of an official history and material and moral destruction have been common themes in Lebanese films since the 1970s, with directors like Maroun Bagdadi (Beirut Oh Beirut, Little Wars), Borhane Alaoui (Beyroutou el lika), Jean Chamoun (Tal Al Zaatar) and Jocelyne Saab (Once Upon a Time in Beirut, A Suspended Life). Since the 1990s, the generation of film-makers who lived through the war decided to bring the post-war period to the screen. Among them is the director, artist and poet Ghassan Salhab who over the years has produced six feature-length films, a series of art-house films, documentaries, installations and books. His style is inspired by great figures of European cinema such as Robert Bresson, Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni. In his films, Beirut is a state of mind that manifests through people wandering the streets of the capital and who choose isolation. Trained in their country, the most recent generation of directors still look to the past and consider the present and future of the Lebanese people.
In partnership with the Moussem Nomadic Art Centre, BOZAR will be screening the premiere of the latest film by Vatche Boulghourjian, Tramontane –, which won the Jury’s Special Award at the most recent Brussels Mediterranean Film Festival, in theatres from 14 February with Cinemien –, and the Focus on Ghassan Salhab with the screening of Terra Incognita (2002) and The Mountain (2011). The directors will be attending the screenings.