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Jocelyne Saab's Retrospective from DOCLISBOA

Doclisboa - International Film Festival will hold an outdoor screening on Cinemateca Portuguesa's rooftop terrace on Friday July 26 at 10.30 p.m., as an announcement and preview of the festival’s two major retrospectives this October.
Jocelyne Saab's LETTRE DE BEYROUTH will be screened as a prelude to one of the largest ever retrospectives of the filmmaker’s work. Lew Hohmann's PAULE IN CONCERT will be screened in the context of the forthcoming retrospective Rise and Fall of the Wall - The Cinema of East Germany.
Rise and Fall of the Wall - The Cinema of East Germany
This year, we are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The DEFA, a state film studio, was founded just after World War II and remained active until 1991, producing hundreds of fiction and documentary films. Many talented filmmakers created a major body of films, which deserves to be rediscovered and re-evaluated, allowing us to better understand an exciting moment in the history of contemporary cinema from a current perspective.
This retrospective aims to show the abundance of cinematic forms and subjects of the films produced in East Germany, mostly by DEFA, both free and censured: propaganda and forbidden films, fiction and documentary films, shorts and features, directed by several generations of filmmakers, such as Konrad Wolf, Gerhard Lamprecht, Karl Gass, Winfried Junge, Gerhard Klein, Jürgen Böttcher, Volker Koepp, Iris Gusner, Andreas Voigt, Helke Misselwitz and Thomas Heise, among others, without forgetting one of their best cinematographers, Thomas Plenert.
They depict the German people, sometimes following them through the years, living in a wounded country in a wounded territory.
Reconstruction, youth, women, work, daily life, the music scene and the artistic life and the city of Berlin are among the regular topics that these films propose in diverse cinematic languages. Watching them means not only digging into the past, but also rethinking our present.
Agnès Wildenstein
Curator of the retrospective
Retrospective Jocelyne Saab
Jocelyne Saab is a somewhat extraordinary figure in today’s cinema world.
Born in 1948 in Beirut, Lebanon, she studied economics at university, according to her parents’ wish. In 1973, she began her career as radio journalist, working both in Beirut and Paris. In 1975, she went back to her hometown to report on the war that was about to break out in Lebanon, using her camera.
War reportage marked Saab’s foray into cinema and would become a distinctive feature of her oeuvre. She was also a photographer and visual artist, and would frequently cross the border between fiction and documentary, making them increasingly osmotic.
Her work would cross the Mediterranean Sea, like the Atlantis boat did, when Yasser Arafat was forced to leave Beirut in 1982 and went into exile in Tunis. Saab, who was the only TV reporter accepted aboard, told this story in Le Bateau de l’exil. Her work would also continuously traverse the Middle East, which always was her reference point, reminding her of her own Asian roots.
Doclisboa decided to dedicate a retrospective to this artist, who was always on the move but deep-rooted, observing the world with lively, astonished and affectionate eyes. The retrospective will open with her portrait of her hometown just a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War, Lettre de Beyrouth.
In 1978, Saab decided to spend some time in Lebanon, trying to tell the story of a country that was leaving one war behind while approaching another. Travelling by bus turned out to be the best way to do it, and the reportage suddenly became a neorealist film, in which Italian cinema references mixed with Egyptian, and then a surreal documentary, looking at the present from different perspectives.
The voice-over is by Etel Adnan, Saab’s friend as well as a great Lebanese poet and painter, who was born in Smyrna under the Ottoman Empire.
The whole universe of Jocelyn Saab’s art seems to be wrapped up in this 52-minute film, shot in 16mm – a universe which opens the door to a cinema that has been forgotten too quickly.
Davide Oberto
Curator of the retrospective
July 26, 22h30
Outdoor projection at the Portuguese Cinematheque
by Lew Hohmann
German Democratic Republic, 1983 - 33 min / electronic subtitled in Portuguese
by Jocelyne Saab
German Democratic Republic, 1983 - 33 min / electronic subtitled in Portuguese
Total projection time: 85 min | M / 12
This year, Doclisboa celebrates its 17th edition, and takes place in various spaces of the city of Lisbon between 17 and 27 October.
Partnership with Cinemateca portuguesa
With the support of Goethe Institut Portugal





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