single-channel film, 26 mins, 2019
with beirut as a backdrop, a young writer and philosopher, noor tannir, recalls her first memory growing up in the city. the film weaves through the quotidian light of an old house in the hamra neighborhood and asks questions about the place from which one speaks. in pondering dual gazes between filmmaker and subject, a ground of positioning is called into question. a dyad narrative attempts to unravel through a singular testimony.
view the film
"the film ostensibly gives the agency of speech back to the sitter, but not as a dialectical reversal. because the filmmaker is simultaneously 'speaking' through the act of filming. a reciprocal essayistic speech act entails, a duet of gazes, words, and fragmented images of a city that also 'looks back' at the filmmaker."
- juli carson
"... the way in which the filmmaker's camera looks at the world is all about spaciousness. whether it's a stunning vast sunset with waves crashing over, or a leaf trembling in the wind, or the time given to a little bird … these choices and timing of shots fold back into the whole idea of the essay film. there's a film by chris marker called 'grin without a cat' and a moment when marker asks, “why sometimes do images begin to tremble?” this film is all about the world as it's trembling. and that trembling world, for me, is a potentiality i also feel in the film's subject, noor––the way the she’s making space for herself––you feel that in her wisdom, her perspective on the way she lives, the way she can see things, and the ways in which she might be closed into a little box, a box she’s just opening up. the film's images also allow that opening to happen. it goes back to the question: what are the images we often see of beirut? we see violence and conflict. so for us to see this subjectivity of a young woman so full of life, longing, desire, and intelligence in the midst of these quiet moments at home and the light falling on her face in a particular way––it's a stunning intervention in that norm..."
- michelle dizon
with noor tannir
sound design by nadim mishlawi
special thanks to db studios beirut
and woodstock byrdcliffe guild