This edition of the Guanajuato International Film Festival is honored to feature Lebanon as its Spotlight Country. Lebanon’s fascinating cinematic baggage is represented by a selection of films that put the accent on the best of that country’s cinema.
Lebanese cinema is an heir to a culture that is rich in history and traditions. This country’s position, with its complexities and challenges, is a vein from which deep and relevant stories have emerged. Classic and contemporary films alike have shown Lebanon’s constant concerns and idiosyncrasies —such as immigration and multiculturalism— as well as vindicate the solidity of their artistic production. Filmmakers like Nadine Labaki and Ghassan Salhab show that Lebanese cinema is at a boom in production and international recognition.
The selection of Lebanese cinema presented at GIFF shows the clear and varied way in which the history of Lebanese cinema, which holds the keys to the history of the contemporary Middle East, which is the intimate story of post-colonialism. These films walk through the origin of Lebanese auteur cinema with George Nasser’s Ila ayn?, all the way to the contemporary voices of Zaid Doueiri and Samir Habchi.
The documentary is a genre in which the realities of Lebanon become particularly auspicious. In very few places in the world can you find stories that reveal intimate aspects of the contemporary development of the Middle East just by turning on a camera on the streets or see what stories come about when one talks to people. Lebanese cinema also experiments with the narrative and structure of this genre.
Contemporary Lebanese cinema has been built independently, outside the infrastructure of institutions. All of the films presented in this category have been screened and awarded at international festivals. Many of them show the special link with Beirut, the country’s capital, which becomes a background and important character in these stories.
Celebrating the links that bring our countries together and knowing that cinema is one of the artistic formats that facilitate recognition in other nations and cultures, this edition of GIFF presents a selection of cinema that is renowned internationally for its quality and depth. IT is a great honor to pay tribute to a cinematic culture that moves us and surprises usl.