Fórum do Real: “The house is black” – letter to Jocelyne Saab

by Porto/Post/Doc / 02 11 2023

Fórum do Real is an international encounter, integrated within the festival's general programme, which seeks to think upon and discuss contemporary cinema and the themes that arise from it. 

“The house is black” – letter to Jocelyne Saab
Guests: Ana Naomi de Sousa, Ricardo Alexandre
Moderator: Maria do Carmo Piçarra

The start of the civil war in Lebanon was a determining factor in Jocelyne Saab (1948-2019) taking up filmmaking. She had already started her career as a war reporter in Egypt, Libya and her own country when she began filming the documentaries that made up the Beirut trilogy. Through this, historical violence became the centrepiece of her work, which documents, reflects on and combats it. Lyrical and committed, her cinema is a matrix, a founder of Lebanese cinema, but pushing the boundaries, establishing her documentaries as masterpieces in the essay-film genre. The poetry that runs through her shots, unveiling the horror, and the intimacy and modesty in dealing with the exiled, displaced and "voiceless" are Saab's hallmarks. It is a Beirut wounded to the core – here too "the house is black", as the Iranian Forugh Farrokhzad filmed – but where life goes on, resisting amidst the rubble.

Ana Naomi de Sousa
She directed the documentaries The Architecture of Violence; Angola – Birth of a Movement; Guerrilla Architect; and Hacking Madrid and collaborated with the Forensic Architecture on Saydnaya. She writes about post-colonial politics for various platforms, like The Guardian, Al Jazeera and The Funambulist.

Ricardo Alexandre

Maria do Carmo Piçarra
Maria do Carmo Piçarra is a researcher at ICNOVA, a professor at UAL and a film critic and programmer. Among other books, she has published Olhar de Maldoror, Projectar a ordem and Azuis ultramarinos. She is the editor of the trilogy Angola, o nascimento de uma nação and of (Re)Imagining African Independence.

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