SESSION SIXTEEN: TRIBUTE TO JOCELYNE SAAB

Friday 3 April, 14:00-17:00, Birkbeck Cinema

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A tribute to the work of Jocelyne Saab presented by Mathilde Rouxel

Films: Children of War (Les Enfants de la guerre), Lebanon, 1976, 16mm/digital, Arabic with English subtitles, 10 minutes

The Ship of Exile (Le Bateau de l’exil), Lebanon, 1982, 16mm/digital, Arabic with English subtitles, 12 minutes

Egypt, City of the Dead (Égypte: cité des morts), Egypt, 1977, 16mm/digital, Arabic with English subtitles, 37 minutes

The Ghosts of Alexandria (Les Fantômes d’Alexandrie), France, 1986, 16mm/digital, Arabic and French with English subtitles, 18 minutes

With the support of CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership and Open City Documentary Festival.

In 2017 the Essay Film Festival invited Jocelyne Saab to present her extraordinary trilogy of films about Beirut shot between 1976 and 1982. These are personal and political film essays in which the filmmaker tries to come to terms with her experience of the civil war in Lebanon. Initially a journalist and war reporter, Saab became a central figure in Arab cinema, documenting intrepidly the transformations brought over by the war and multiple social and political conflicts in the Middle East in the late 1970s and 1980s. Saab’s commitment to those mauled by the war and to those that resist, to the exiles, the dispossessed, and the poor, was manifested throughout her vast filmography of over thirty films. Her curiosity and relentless enthusiasm for the culture and the people of the countries where she filmed extended to the fiction films she directed after the 1980s, and to the photographic works she did as well as the installations she created in the later years, before her death in 2018. The Essay Film Festival celebrates Saab’s work once again with a selection of her films and a presentation by researcher Mathilde Rouxel, author of the first monograph dedicated to the filmmaker and the person responsible for the preservation and distribution of Saab’s films. 

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