On the afternoon of 4 August, the port of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, experienced two explosions. The second blast left the surrounding city in devastating ruins, killing an estimated 137 people and injuring about 5,000 others. Additionally, Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud has said as many as 300,000 people have been made homeless, aggravating both the already severe and unprecedented economic crisis and the dangerous spread of coronavirus.
As always, it is imperative that the international community come together to aid those struggling in such a turbulent time. And Dubai’s own Cinema Akil, in partnership with Front Row Films, is doing its part.
From 9 to 14 August the Lebanon Disaster Relief Screenings will take place at our best-loved indie picture house, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to Lebanon Red Cross. The program will feature two films by Lebanese directors: West Beirut by Ziad Doueiri (1998) and Where Do We Go Now? by Nadine Labaki (2011).
Doueiri’s film is a drama following the life of a high schooler growing up in Beirut as the civil war breaks out in April 1975. As the young Tarek comes of age, the war moves emotionally from adventure to tragedy and the reality of political turmoil comes to the fore. As a winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Prix François Chalais, this is not one to be missed.
Where Do We Go Now?, selected to represent Lebanon for the 84th Academy Awards, tells the story of an isolated unnamed village where both Christians and Muslims live together. As civil strife engulfs Lebanon, the women in the village attempt to keep their men in the dark, with varying success. A poignant commentary on both political unrest and gender relations in the Middle East, Labaki’s film will leave you educated, empowered and engaged for weeks to come.
Seats are limited so book your seat at cinemaakil.com and don’t forget to bring a mask. Help those in need at this troubling time while simultaneously supporting the Arab creative community.