Berlinale

The Valley (Al-wadi)

Synopsis
After a car accident on a lone mountain road, a man loses his memory. He continues to walk along the deserted path. He encounters people with engine trouble and helps them get their car running again. They are reluctant to leave him stranded, so they take him to their large estate in the Bekaa valley, a place he may never leave again…

Director’s note
I was on Ouyoun El Simane, one of Lebanon’s mountaintops. As happens every time I find myself in this place, I was struck by the magnificence of the landscape and its relentless power. On that particular day, a feeling of fright, even terror, arose in me. There is no doubt that the sensation was related to the quasi-glacial majesty of the place, as well as my state of mind at the time. Mostly, it was as if the state of affairs in Lebanon, the invariable state of threat in this loaded part of the world, had spread across the mountain heights in an elusive, intangible form. Strangely, this threat took on its full meaning in this remote, seemingly serene place. It hovered densely, like a low, looming sky, ready to burst. The Valley came into being on that day, from that forceful sensation.


World premiere
Toronto International Film Festival 2014, Contemporary World Cinema

Key festivals and awards
Best Director Award, Abu Dhabi International Film Festival 2014
Carthage International Film Festival 2014
Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, Forum
Hong Kong International Film Festival 2015
Seattle International Film Festival 2015
FIPRESCI Prize, Friboug International Film Festival 2015

Lebanon 2014
Director: Ghassan Salhab
Producers: Abbout Productions (Lebanon), Les Films d’Ici (France), unafilm GmbH (Germany)
German WCF partner: unafilm
World sales: Doc & Film International (France)

Funded in the WCF jury meeting in June 2013
Funding amount: 30.000 €