The cinema of Jocelyne Saab, a certain poetry of disaster

The cinema of Jocelyne Saab, a certain poetry of disaster


The haunting images of the Lebanese war reporter and filmmaker Jocelyne Saab (1948-2019) can be discovered until December 10, in Paris and the Paris region, as part of a retrospective organized at the initiative of the Association Jocelyne Saab. Born in 1948, in Beirut, the young dark-haired woman, whose adolescent silhouette appears in the poetic Beirut, my city (1982), covered the Lebanese war (1975-1990), searching for poetry in the middle of the ruins, watching for human presence and in particular that of children, whose violent games she films, in a devastated neighborhood, in the astonishing Children of War (1976).

Some of his films have been broadcast on French television, others have been excluded. Following the Lebanese War, in 1993, Jocelyne Saab embarked on a project to reconstitute a Lebanese film library, in Beirut, a vast work of archiving and restoration of works, which led to cycles of screenings, the Institute of the Arab World, in Paris, at the Carthage Cinematographic Days, in Tunisia, etc. Jocelyne Saab also documented the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1979, with Iran, l’utopia en marche (1980).

Bold female characters

The reporter started a career as a filmmaker in the 1980s, with a first solar feature film, less mawkish than the title suggests, about the desire to live of a teenager who grew up in the ruins, A Suspended Life (L ‘adolescent, sugar of love) , with Jacques Weber, selected for the Directors’ Fortnight, in Cannes, in 1985 – the film will be scheduled on December 5 at the Grand Action (Paris 5ᵉ). In 2005, she will sign a second “feature”, Dunia , addressing the question of pleasure – the 4th at L’Archipel (Paris 10ᵉ).

“Palestinian Women” (1973), by Jocelyne Saab.

Jocelyne Saab’s female characters are daring and determined, including in the documentary Palestinian Women (1973), giving voice to female fighters. The director had also filmed oriental dancers in Les Almées (1989): on December 2, the experimental cinema association Braquage is offering an editing workshop in 16 millimeters from scraps not used by the filmmaker – at the space In progress , Paris 20ᵉ.

A series of rather short films devoted to the Israeli-Arab wars resonate with current events, shedding light on the tragedy in bits and pieces, capturing surreal moments. Five of them will be broadcast on December 7 at the Césure, located in the former campus of the Sorbonne-Nouvelle Censier (Paris 5th ), during an evening entitled “Jocelyne Saab and the Palestinian resistance”.

You have 35% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.


Leave a Reply