A few days after the Karantina massacre, in a predominantly Muslim slum in Beirut, Jocelyne Saab meets the surviving children, who are marked by the horrific visions of the combat they witnessed. After giving them pens to draw with and inviting them to play under the watchful eye of her camera, the director is faced with a bitter realization: they no longer know any other game than that of war, and it will soon become a profession for them as well. Read More »
“This reflexive voyage into a celluloid Beirut becomes the key to finding out to which Beirut one is returning, and to point to the new Beirut one wishes for the future.” – Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Cineaste
Distraught over Beirut’s destruction, Yasmine and Leila embark on a journey in search of its past. Their possession of two rare, unreleased film reels lands them an encounter with Monsieur Farouk, a reclusive film connoisseur.
Through the magic of cinema, the three of them go back in time on a mythical and history-laden tour of the city. Here the movie shines with images of Beirut from the large-scale American studio efforts of the 1970’s to the Beirut of the 1960’s as seen through the lenses of Arab filmmakers, to the French-directed films of the 1930s. Once Upon a Time: Beirut offers an enchanting look at one of the Middle East’s most complex and beautiful cities. Read More »