The One Man Village (Semaan Bil Day'ia)

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.

World premiere
October 2008

Theatrical release in Germany
September 10, 2009

International Film Festival Dubai, Special Jury Prize Documentary, Muhr Awards
Special Mention, One World Festival Prague
International Competition Best feature length documentary, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Silver Hawk, Arab Film Festival Rotterdam

Festivals (selection in 2009)
Berlinale International Film Festival
Dox-Box Damascus; International Film
Festival of Mediterranean Cinema Tétouan
Doc à Tunis
Visions du Réel Nyon
Special Screening Eurodoc
Minneapoli / St. Paul International Film Festival
Jeonju International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Golden Apricot Film Festival Yerevan
FID Marseille; Mediteran Film Festival
Split International Film Festival for New Media
Vancouver International Film Festival
Mediterranean Film Festival Montpellier
Filmfestival of Contemporary Arab Cinema Bogota
Silk Road Film Festival Bursa
Free Zone Human Rights Film Festival
Hot Docs
One World Festival Prague
ArabFilm Festival Rotterdam
DOK.fest Munich

Lebanon 2008
Director: Simon El Habre (Lebanon)
Producers: Beirut DC (Lebanon) and Mec Film (Germany)
German distributor: Mec Film
World sales: mec film (Germany)

Funded in the WCF jury meeting in June 2009
Distribution Funding: 7,500 €