Wednesday, August 27, 2008
"Once censored by the Lebanese government, this award-winning auteur is now embraced as a cultural ambassador and a voice of conscience in her homeland."
The director Randa Chahal Sabbag was born in Tripoli (Lebanon) in 1953. In 1979, she directed her first film, Pas à pas, a documentary on the neighboring countries' implication in the civil war in Lebanon (awarded the press prize at Namur). Her next film was Liban d'autrefois, a short film about Lebanon as seen in photographs, portraits and post cards. (Jury prize at Carthage). In 1981, she was commissioned to direct a film on the safeguarding of institutions during the torment of the Lebanese war (Liban survie). She then made a series of 30 short films for Lebanese television, 9 heures 30, based on themes from everyday life. In 1984, she filmed a concert by Egyptian singer Cheikh Imam. In 1988, she made her first feature fiction, Ecrans de sable, selected for Venice in 1991. In 1995, the documentary Nos guerres imprudentes about 20 years of civil war in Beirut, was shown at Locarno. Director's statement Love, exile, politics... That's what Pierre Chevalier asked me for. Delighted by the transgressions that such a broad outline allows, I was happy to meet his request, especially since, in this part of the world, these words carry violence, refusal and death and it's irresistable. I wanted my characters to be frightened. I wanted the film to tell the story, not of ideas, but of men: of their differences, their dissipation, their thrills, their break-ups, without courage, just the ability to be on a threshold, on a window sill, on top of a sky- scraper, knowing perfectly well that you won't jump. I wanted the relationship between God, sex and fear to obey the laws of desire. It is this law alone, immense and without cultural reference or identity, that makes use of all foreign lands.