The 96-minute feature narrative tells the story of Rana and Guy, a young married couple living in present-day Beirut – a city forced into modernity and thus left in a perpetual rhythm of instability. One day, Rana succumbs to her environment and suddenly quits her job. Guy decides they need to distance themselves from the bustling life of the city. The story follows the couple on their road trip through the Lebanese mountainside, on a road that morphs into remembrance and nostalgia.
We spoke to Rana Salem – writer, director, producer, and actress in The Road – to know more about her film.
Tell us about the process of how “The Road” came to be.The Road is the result of a lengthy journey. I started writing a short film four years ago. As I was growing personally, the script was also evolving with time and developing more intricate layers. So the short film turned into a feature film.
How did you finance it?It’s very difficult to find funding for a film in the economic crisis we’re living; it’s also tricky when it’s your first feature film and you have nothing else to show for. I didn’t want to wait a year to find producers and financing. It all happened very spontaneously: every single member of my crew contributed in the film, they all worked for free. I couldn’t have done it if the people around me weren’t willing to help.
What about the cast?Actually, the film is inspired by my life with my partner, but the characters are not us, even though we’re the actors. The Road is a very personal project, and it takes a look into how it is to be in love and maintain a long relationship in a country where it’s difficult to make long term plans due to its instability.
How did you get to Cannes?I took part in the Beirut Cinema Project last year, it’s an initiative by the Fondation Liban Cinema that assists Lebanese filmmakers in seeking consultation and inputs from industry experts from around the globe. FLC contacted me a while ago, asking about a copy of the film I had been working on. That’s how The Road found its way to the Rough Cuts screening at the Marché du Film. I’m hoping it will attract distributors.
The Road will be competing in the Official Selection of the 37th edition of the Moscow International Film Festival, which will take place between the 19th and the 26th of June 2015.