For most people around the world it’s the week-end but in Cannes days look so much like each other than you can easily lose count of how long you’ve been at the festival. Sometimes you feel as if you’ve been here for weeks whereas you arrived only two days ago, or on the other hand you find yourself packing to go back home thinking time went by so quickly.
Today, the Culture Minister Gaby Layoun was offered a guided tour of the Film Market. He paid a visit to Swedish and Finnish cinema institutions and compared practices in use. He also met young promising Lebanese filmmakers present on the pavilion earlier in the afternoon.

Which brings us to what Lebanon offers this year in terms of cinema: even though no Lebanese film is present in a major selection (whereas last year Nadine Labaki’s second feature film “And Now Where Do We Go” was selected for the “Un Certain Regard” category and won the Prix du Jury Oécuménique), there are plenty of movies to see -and buy. For instance, “Behind Me Olive Trees” (2012, 8’) by Pascale Abou Jamra was selected in the Cinéfondation category. This selection marks ALBA’s (Lebanese Fine Arts Academy) first entry at the Cannes festival. Several short films were selected at the short film corner, among which “Black Umbrella” by Hiba Medjahi. This film is interesting in that it was shot in Prague with foreign actors in English, since Hiba studied film studies in the Czech Republic. Keep your eyes open for a video interview of Hiba and Pascale very soon on 35mmfrombeirut!

The Lebanese pavillion also advertises a number of films, particularly thanks to the tireless work of the Fondation Liban Cinéma. Two films stand out of the crowd: “A Man of Honour” by Jean-Marc Codsi and “Tanoura Maxi” by Joe Abou Eid. In Codsi’s words, “A Man of Honour” “is the story of a man who has violated the code of honor that governs his community, which forced him to flee his country. He comes back twenty years later and eventually confronts his family”. “Tanoura Maxi” also deals with the weight of the community’s tradition and is about a love story born during Summer 82 between an arrogant young woman and a priest about to be ordained. The film has been out for a couple of weeks in Beirut, and is already causing controversy and provoking interesting conversations.

by Coline Houssais