‘Panoptic’ reconciles with the past in Lebanon

Rana Eid makes a documentary that submerges itself in the undersoil of Beirut to analyze the circumstances of a Lebanon that intends to move towards the future with a very present past

Rana Eid

10/27/2017.- Rana Eid presented her documentary Panoptic, a work that delves into the paradoxes of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, in the History Time section. She analyzes these paradoxes through sound, emblematic monuments, and secret hiding places, in an epistolary structure of letters written from a daughter to her late father as an attempt to reconcile with the turbulent past of her country.

“More than schizophrenia we speak of paradox; all of Beirut is a city with a normal appearance, a large city in which people bustle about in a hurry“, said the director. She added, “but this rush is also a way to ignore reality, a reality in which young people want to live in the now, but the past is still very present”.

She also talked about the importance of sound in her film, as it is not always in sync with the images: “I suffered from auditory sclerosis and there seemed to me to be a parallel between this disease and what is happening in Lebanon. We do not listen to each other; for that reason an unrhythmic sound is utilized in the film. There is a kind of amnesia in which the past is buried”.

The documentary has circulated in other festivals, but has not yet been screened in Lebanon. “It is being blocked by censorship”, remarks Rana Eid. She goes on, “we have a word that means voice, vote, and sound … I am worried that we do not have any of these three things which for us make up a united concept.”

Benoît Grimalt

Short film Retour à Genoa City (Detour to Genoa City)

The short film screened in the session, Retour à Genoa City (Detour to Genoa City), also has to do with a reunion with the past. It begins when the director sees his grandparents so that they can tell him what has happened in the 20 years that he has not watched the soap opera that his grandparents watch. “It is series that is emblematic in France and the United States for its longevity, it is the symbol of a whole generation,” explained director Benoît Grimalt.

Through the story, they remember stages and anecdotes of his life: “I do not know if they understood the final goal and the humor of my work, but they enjoyed talking when I came to make the recordings, and that makes me feel good”.

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Posted in 62nd Edition, Time of History.