Lebanon, France, 51 min
A drawing on a blackboard serves as an introduction to the complexity of Lebanon’s past; more and more arrows and directions fill the board, thus featuring the Chatila camp in the outskirts of Beirut, a site that welcomes the Palestinian refugees who are now the scapegoats of Lebanese society. With respect and accuracy, the filmmaker reveals the day-to-day life of this microcosm.
A drawing on a blackboard serves as an introduction to the complexity of Lebanon’s past. Ever more arrows and directions fill the board: this is undoubtedly one of the most significant representations alluding to Lebanon’s historical, social and political complexity. The board becomes more crowded as confessions, allies, enemies and conflicts accumulate. Thus begins the incursion into the world of the Chatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. Since 1948, it has been a site that welcomes the Palestinian refugees who, unwillingly bearing responsibility for the civil war, are now the scapegoats of Lebanese society. Life in the camp, a genuine universe of its own, is concentrated into a reduced area, a maze of alleys and electrical cables. There is a succession of scenes of everyday life, conversations as meals are prepared, arguments in the street, friends confiding in each other. Gestures of normality that almost make us forget how the name Chatila is an inseparable byword for “massacre”. With respect and accuracy, Maher Abi-Samra reveals day-to-day life in this microcosm.