Jocelyne Saab Retrospective

One can not put a label on Jocelyne Saab as a person or on her film work. She starts her career as a journalist and war reporter, and she directs her first feature-length documentary, Lebanon in a Whirlwind, in 1975. Lebanon, where Jocelyne Saab was born (Beirut, 1948), is the centre from which unfolds a cinematic map comprising roughly thirty documentary films, (always surprising) “fiction films”, portraits and pictures, installations and exhibitions. A cinematic map that becomes a geographic one, oriented toward the Mediterranean, but also toward East, toward the Middle East, until it reaches the Far East, without forgetting the Asian location of the cosmopolitan and open Lebanon that the civil war tried to close by multiplying walls.

A Leader Is Born: Muammar Gaddafi

18 OUT / 18.00, Cinema Ideal

The first step with a camera: Jocelyne Saab is sent to Libya to document Gaddafi’s Green March on Egypt. She quickly obtains an authorization to make a portrait of the statesman, who takes her to meet his family in a Bedouin village in Libya. The document, rare, opens the doors for her.

Middle East Report 1

18 OUT / 21.00, São Jorge – Sala 3

Jocelyne Saab is born as a radio and television journalist, and after the success of the Libyan experience she is able to go to the firing hearth of Middle East. Her reportages from Israel, Golan, Egypt and Iraq are, even in their brevity, precious contributions to understand contemporaneity.


23 OUT / 19.00, Cinemateca – Sala M. F. Ribeiro

The obstinate and adamant mapping Jocelyne Saab is doing of the Middle East finally attempts to describe her country without peace: Lebanon. Particularly with Children of War, Saab is giving us a strong example of what is becoming her cinema: not reportage, not documentary, not mise‑en‑scène, and not even a simple mix of all these aspects, but rather a composition of all of them, “waiting” for them to follow one another in front of the camera.

Opening Session

18 OUT / 16.00, Culturgest – Grande Aud.


23 OUT / 22.00, Culturgest – Pequeno Aud.

The heart of this programme are the films Jocelyne Saab shot in Palestine, the black hearth of post‑WWII Europe, where we are not supposed to enter, as Godard said in Film Socialisme. Saab, however, did it with her nomadic, free, surrealistic capacity to film. The programme opens with her last film, a portrait of Mei Shigenobu, daughter of the founder of the Japanese Red Army in Beirut, Fusako Shigenobu: a nomadic figure of the soul.


19 OUT / 16.15, São Jorge – Sala 3

From Beirut destroyed by the civil war to Iran that went through a revolution to wake up in an Islamic Republic, Jocelyne Saab and her camera are able to surprise us with some unexpected and astonishing angle of viewing, where the utopia can still live.

19 OUT / 14.00, São Jorge – Sala 3


22 OUT / 22.15, São Jorge – Sala 3

Beirut is the hometown of Jocelyne Saab and the symbol of a Middle East fragmented by the leftovers of colonial history. In 1982, there was the “Siege of Beirut” and the massacres of Sabra and Shatila. The Lebanese are hostages in their city, but just the year after Saab manages to shoot a love story in the “natural landscape” of a city at war.


19 OUT / 18.45, São Jorge – Sala 3

“In the 1960s and 1970s, Egypt was at the centre of the Arab world. In 1973, I covered the October war. Following this, I met several members of the Egyptian left and kept in touch. I was interested in nationalist sentiment and reflection on the nation, and I dialogued with men such as Mohamed Sid Ahmed having a real political thought about anti‑imperialism and the will of the Egyptian people to live free without outside interference.”

– Jocelyne Saab

24 OUT / 21.30, São Jorge – Sala 3
25 OUT / 19.15, São Jorge – Sala 3


19 OUT / 11.00, São Jorge – Sala 3

Raymond Eddé, candidate in the presidential elections in Lebanon; Jocelyne Khoueiry, the muse of the phalangist militia in Beirut; and Dr. Hoa, an extraordinary woman who was a minister in the South Vietnamese revolutionary government. Three lives, three battles, three harsh portraits but full of love.

20 OUT / 17.15, São Jorge – Sala 3


21 OUT / 18.45, São Jorge – Sala 3

In almost every film made by Jocelyne Saab there is a constant subversion of the common sense concerning the cinematic genres and the established idea of what is male and what is female. The three films that make this session are a kind of explicit journey through this subversion.