Tag Archives: History

Lebanese Cinema’s Journey at the Venice Film Festival throughout the years

La Biennale di Venezia is currently celebrating its 74th edition with a variety of films by acclaimed filmmakers from around the world. The spotlight in this edition is on the Lebanese film The Insult which is Ziad Doueiri’s fourth feature film and his first one to get in the official competition of the festival. The film was very well received by the international audience in Venice and by the press. While Doueiri is waiting for the jury’s final decision to perhaps bring home Lebanon’s first Golden Lion Award, we wanted to write this post to pay tribute to him and to his fellow Lebanese filmmakers who also took part of the festival in the past few years.

RANDA CHAHAL SABBAG

randa_chahal

Starting with the ladies, the late Lebanese filmmaker Randa Chahal Sabbag who passed away in 2008 from cancer, is one of the most celebrated female filmmakers in Lebanon and the Arab world.

She’s one of the very first ladies to become a director in the cinematic field. Here’s a look at her participation at the Venice Film Festival:

  1. Screens of Sand / Ecrans de Sable (1991)

In a city in the middle of the desert, the passionate friendship of ladies, Sarah and Mariam. One who saw the day after the oil boom and thinks that she can have everything with the power of money, the other is a survival of the war in Lebanon. In this desert, between bans and conflicts, the tension rises.

It was Chahal’s very first feature film. It premiered on September 8, 1991 at La Biennale di Venezia in the official selection.

  1. A Civilized People / Civilisées (1999)

While working in the city, a young woman finds love in the midst of war with an Arab soldier.

This film also premiered on September 4, 1999 at the festival in the official selection and was awarded the UNESCO Prize, before heading to the Toronto International Film Festival. Unfortunately, the film was banned in Lebanon because of some dialogues and characters.

  1. The Kite / Le Cerf-Volant (2003)

A young 15-year-old girl, Lamia, from a Druze community, who is forced to marry her cousin across the Israeli border, but finds herself in love with an Israeli soldier.

It is her last film which premiered on August 30, 2003 at the 60thVenice Film Festival as part of the Official Competition. It was nominated for the Golden Lion. Despite not winning the Golden Lion, she won 3 awards: the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize, the Lanterna Magica Award and the Cinema for Peace Award.

Closing ceremony of the 60th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy on September 6th, 2003

4 years later, she took part of the jury of the Premio Venezia Opera Prima Luigi De Laurentiis section which was presided by the American producer Bill Mechanic. Today, her family is working on releasing very soon all her films as well as the scripts that she wrote but couldn’t turn into movies.

 

NADINE LABAKI

nadine_labaki.jpgThe second filmmaker who made it to Venice is the well-known female director Nadine Labaki. She took part of the Orizzonti (Horizons) jury at the 69th edition of the festival, awarding the Hong Kong documentary film Three Sisters the Best Film Award of the section. The jury was presided by the Italian actress and director Isabella Rossellini.

 

 

MAZEN KHALED

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We don’t want to forget to mention the director Mazen Khaled whose film Martyr is also selected at this year’s 74th Venice Film Festival in the Biennale College Cinema section and got its world premiere there few days ago in the presence of the cast and crew.

 

 

Martyr (2017)

The last day of the life of a young man drowned on the coast of Beirut.

 

ZIAD DOUEIRI

Director Ziad Doueiri poses during a photocall for the movie And last but not least is the Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri who takes part of the festival for the first time and in the Official Competition alongside internationally acclaimed filmmakers such as Darren Aronosfky, Ai Weiwei, Guillermo Del Toro, Abdellatif Kechiche and Robert Guediguian. The film is written by Doueiri and the screenwriter Joëlle Touma and was described as “gorgeously short and classily acted feature” and “a fascinating piece of work” by The Hollywood Reporter. It will be released on September 14 in Lebanese theaters and on January 26, 2018 in US theaters.

The Insult / L’insulte (2017)

In today’s Beirut, an insult blown out of proportions finds Toni, a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, in court. From secret wounds to traumatic revelations, the media circus surrounding the case puts Lebanon through a social explosion, forcing Toni and Yasser to reconsider their lives and prejudices.

 


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Attending the biggest Award Shows: Allowed or Banned?

As it’s the Oscars week, and the since Awards season is coming to an end, we have thought of giving you another type of throwbacks and highlights. So we decided to talk today about the Award show tickets that allow the general audience to attend and watch the annual Award ceremonies.

Academy-Awards

Let’s start with the Oscars: while preparing for the 14th edition which was held on February 26, 1942 at the Biltmore Bowl at the Biltmore Hotel, two major events took place: the first one was the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the second one was the death of the famous actress Carole Lombard, who was killed during an airplane crash while returning to the US on January 1942. Because of these two tragic events, the Academy decided to cancel the awards ceremony. But the new Academy president then, Bette Davis, suggested to have the event at a large auditorium where the public will be invited to buy tickets to watch the ceremony under several modified conditions. The proceeds of the tickets were given to the Red Cross. Then in the 19th edition of the Academy Awards, the general public was allowed for the first time to buy their tickets in order to watch the ceremony. Nowadays, the Academy is making sure to have all the guests and invited public figures sign a release which is a promise not to resell or give away their seats to the show, but unfortunately some companies were trying to hawk the tickets for high costs starting $85,000 for a ticket, and the academy accused several companies especially in 2008. in 2009 they accused an Arizona-based firm that offered a trip for seven days to Hollywood including the accommodations at the Bel Air hotel and a ticket to the Oscars for $175,000 (according to The Fiscal Times).

critics-choice-movie-awards

There’s another type of Award shows that are dedicated for the support of independent filmmaking. Let’s take the example of the Spirit Awards which allows to buy tickets in two different seating groups: – the first group is reserved for the purchase of a Spirit Awards table which has ten seats. the prices vary according to the position of the table and its proximity to the stage, so the prices range is from $20,000 to $50,000, and the seating is extremely limited. – the second group is reserved for the ones who join the Spirit’s Arts Circle to support the Film Independent, enjoying various meaningful benefits throughout the year, including receiving individual tickets to attend the Awards show.

There are many Award shows which allow the public to buy their tickets and attend the show, such as the Critics Choice Movie Awards who have for example the Table style seating for $4450 a ticket. As for the Golden Globe Awards, it’s one of the most difficult events to gain access to (for the general audience and the celebrities) especially that it’s an “A-List only” event. But some ticket providers offer the audience tickets to gain access to view parties and after parties, especially the ones given by “InStyle” and Warner Brothers (according to ehow.com).