Film Archive

Jahr

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Conversations with Siro

Conversations avec Siro
Dima El-Horr
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Lebanon,
France
2021
52 minutes
Arabic,
French
subtitles: 
French, English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dima El-Horr
Paul Rognoni
Sabine Sidawi
Dima El-Horr
Catherine Zins
Jean-Pierre Dussardier

Lebanese filmmaker Dima El-Horr moved to Paris several years ago. Among the friends who stayed at home is the artist Sirvat Fazlian, whom she regularly visits in Beirut until the failed revolution of 2019, the COVID lockdown, the devastating port explosion and finally the dramatic economic crisis put a temporary end to their meetings. So the director decides to give her conversations with Siro a cinematic form.

Ever since the death of her husband, the well-known Armenian actor Berj Fazlian, Siro has lived alone in a flat filled with souvenirs and devoted most of her time to music and painting. In this film, footage from the years before 2019 blends with recorded phone calls between Siro and Dima and recent scenes from Paris, coming together in a densely woven portrait of life in exile. While snow falls in Paris, Siro talks about warm days on the Mediterranean coast and sings Armenian songs. She rails against the permanent crisis in Lebanon, but her nature is not affected. For one thing, Siro personifies the legendary Lebanese resilience. Yet for the filmmaker she represents that part of the heart that people in exile leave behind. So almost inevitably, “Conversations with Siro” becomes the director’s dialogue with herself.
Christoph Terhechte
Nominated for FIPRESCI Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury
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Exile
State of the World
International Competition 2022
Filmstill Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist
Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist
Corine Shawi
Corine Shawi’s father spends four years in various hospitals – a time in which the state of emergency becomes routine. A description of a status quo and a testimony to resignation and renewal.
Filmstill Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist

Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist

Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist
Corine Shawi
International Competition 2022
Documentary Film
Lebanon
2022
73 minutes
Arabic,
French
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Corine Shawi
Myriam Sassine
Corine Shawi
Jana Wehbe
Corine Shawi
Halim Sabbagh
Corine Shawi
Joh Dagher
Lama Sawaya

Corine Shawi’s father spends four years in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in Beirut because of sudden paralysis – a time in which the state of emergency becomes routine and filming becomes a strategy: in search of the right balance of closeness and distance, in search of one’s own position in the structure. Shawi sets herself the task of documenting, putting herself in the picture, keeping the family together and at the same time recording movements and changes.

Family life shifts to the sickrooms. The radio plays, the mother smokes countless cigarettes on the balcony, her eyes and fingers graze figures of saints, she attends Holy Mass in the various facilities and shares her worries about an adult son with her husband and daughter. They argue, laugh and sometimes dance around the sickbed. Between the family capsule and drifting through the city – Beirut, night, cemeteries, sensualities –, the filmmaker inserts interview sequences with her siblings, staged on the backseat of a moving car. Attempts to cope and to draw borders, loneliness in company. Brief moments when wishes and projections of mobility are experimentally translated into virtual space – a gauging of possibilities. A touching description of a status quo and a testimony to resignation and renewal.
Djamila Grandits
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Family Ties