Tirss, Rihlat Alsou’oud ila Almar’i
Wednesday, 09.10., 6.30 pm, kinoeins
Thirty-five years ago, I witnessed the kidnapping of a man I know. He has disappeared since. Ten years ago, I caught a glimpse of his face while walking in the street, but I wasn’t sure it was him. Parts of his face were torn off, but his features had remained unchanged since the incident. Yet something was different, as if he wasn’t the same man.
2014 on a wall in the city of Beirut are spread layers over layers of hundreds of torn posters. Selling lines and ripped images jump to the eye: apartments, pastries, concerts, loans, restaurants, plumbing, religious tours for the faithful… anything! Suddenly, in the middle of this rubble, a glimpse: the partial picture of a face. Only a moustache, the trace of a shy smile, a chin, and part of an ear. Also noticeable in the photo, the fragments of a black leather jacket. A vagabond with a pencil sets to heal the rest of the face, restoring its missing traits. “The image of a man whose features were convincing took shape in front of me! But who is that man?” On his unsettled journey through Beirut, various encounters and incidents constantly put the vagabond back on track, on the trail of the people gone missing during the Lebanese civil war. But the vagabond faces a city striving by all possible means to erase those traces beyond recovery, to a point of no return.
Ghassan Halwani lives and works in Beirut. After completing his animated shortfilm Jibraltar in 2005, he has cooperated with many filmmakers, playwrights, Contemporary artists, publishers and musicians, especially from Lebanon and other Arabic countries. In addition to his artwork, he focusses his energy on public and political affairs. He is currently participating in a project to create a national archive of people in Lebanon who went missing by force. Simultaneously, Ghassan is conducting research for a film about the National Master Plan regulating territory and properties in Lebanon.