Lebanese Film Festival in Adelaide, 23-25 September

After two tumultuous years, the 2022 Lebanese Film Festival finally made its return to Adelaide with three thought-provoking films encapsulating the marvels of Arabic language and culture, as well as the bitter-sweet reality that Lebanese people endure.

The three-day festival held at Hoyts Cinema, Norwood, kicked off with the unravelling Memory Box whereby Maia, a single mother and daughter, Alex, delve into Beirut’s hidden treasures during the Lebanese Civil War, after receiving an unexpected delivery containing tapes, photos, and notebooks. Despite the fascination with the historic relics, Alex unlocks a world which blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, leaving the audience at the edge of their seats.

In the night that followed, the dramatic comedy film C-Section, entertained a few giggles from the audience as they witnessed two pregnant couples from opposing social classes battling it out in a shared private room at a hospital. Let’s just say the European styled comedy encapsulated the inequalities of Lebanon in a satirical, yet amusing fashion.

On the final day, the comedic tone shifted to a serious one, with the screening of Costa Brava, an award-winning film starring Nadine Labaki and Saleh Bakri, which was part of the project “ALCASA Community Connections 2022” and supported by the Multicultural Communities Council of SA (MCCSA). The Badri family’s idyllic existence in the mountain side comes to halt as a shady corporation governed by political motives decides to build a landfill to dump garbage on their doorstep. Torn between anguish, fear, and bravery, the Badri family not only endure the harsh external realities that stem from corruption in Lebanon, but also are confronted with an internal crisis as they are forced to face the life they left behind. In the film’s conclusion, a mix of emotions were felt by the audience—a moment of silence, followed by sympathies for the Lebanese people, and finally admiration for their ongoing endurance despite hardship.

Thank you once again to the ALCASA team, the Lebanese Film Festival, MCCSA, UniSA: Justice & Society and finally, the delightful audience!

by Tania Zebian