Berlinale: Programme


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Semaan Bil Day'ia

The One Man Village

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THE ONE MAN VILLAGE

Semaan El Habre, the filmmaker’s uncle, is the sole inhabitant of the village of Ain El-Halazoun. In 1982, the civil war in Lebanon forced the villagers to leave; their houses were destroyed in the conflict. Only Semaan has returned for good. For the past five years he has been living in a house surrounded by ruins, with only his animals and his memories for company. The scars left by the war are not immediately obvious. At first sight, life in the deserted ghost village seems rather idyllic: a snow-covered mountain panorama, a small farm, a content man who loves his cows and who always has a humorous remark on the tip of his tongue. Only gradually do the scars inflicted by the war come to the surface: in the scenery, the history of the El Habre family and in Semaan’s personal life. Each story in the film provides a glimpse of the history of Lebanon and the situation of a country half-way between forgetting and remembering. A film in which horror and beauty, pain and poetry are side by side. An unobtrusive reflection on origins, ties forged with places and people, the consequences of war and the attempt to accept painful memories as part of one’s life.

Lebanon 2008, 86 min

by

Simon El Habre

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mec film