What's Going on?

Libanon/Frankreich 2010, Blu-ray, Farbe, 78’ | Regie Jocelyne Saab | Buch Jocelyne Saab, Joumana Haddad, Samer Akl | Bildgestaltung Jacques Bouquin | Schnitt Catherine Poitevin | Ton James Galt | Produktion Jocelyne Saab, Ciné-On France, Collection d'Artiste Liban, Astarté production Costa-rica

»I’m not asking the viewer to understand everything, but just to dream for a while.«
Jocelyne Saab

Beirut, 2010. Jalal regrets not having become a tailor, like his father, but a writer instead. For this reason he is now designing, cutting, sewing and stapling together a »body« from one of his own texts. Real people, such as female dancer Khouloud, fill him with inspiration. Piece by piece Jalal steals their stories, transforming them into characters in his novel.
What is true? What is false? Who are the characters? Are the situations real? Or is the writer once again diverting the lives of his models for his own creative purposes; a new love story in Beirut? He physically kidnaps the heart of his heroine Khouloud and adds it to the pages of his book. What is he going to do with it?  
»With the increasingly oppressive atmosphere in recent years in the Arab world, Jocelyne Saab interrupts the familiar cinematic form, accepted in the region, and presents a full-length experimental film here. What’s Going on? grieves for the loss of dignity of the city and opposes this by re-appropriation through art.«
Irit Neidhart


JOCELYNE SAAB is a French-Lebanese director whose name is closely associated with revolutionary and internationalist cinema. She worked as a journalist across the entire Arab world and made a number of documentary films before coming to feature film during the Lebanese civil war in the middle of the 1980s. Her works are characterised by her challenging those in power and scrutinising the status quo. Le Liban dans la Tourmente was her first full-length documentary, made in 1975. From then on, she reported on the wars in the Middle East and in Iran, and on the Western Sahara conflict in the Maghreb. Joselyne Saab has won numerous international awards. In 1982, she worked on Circle of Deceit alongside Volker Schlöndorff. In 1985, she made her first feature film, Suspended Life, which was shot in Beirut and screened at the Cannes Festival. At times, she commuted between Beirut, Paris and Cairo, where she wrote, filmed and produced  Dunia – Kiss Me Not on the Eyes. It was screened in the international competition of the Sundance Film Festival. Since 2007, Jocelyn Saab has worked more and more in photography, and in 2008 in Beirut, she presented the much discussed exhibition »Sense Icons and Sensitivity«. She is currently preparing for a new film and another photo project. In total she has made over 30 documentaries and three feature films so far, which have been shown on French and European broadcasting channels, on NBC in the USA and NHK in Japan.


Films by Jocelyne Saab (Selection)
Dunia- Kiss Me Not on the Eyes 2006 | Paris in Love 2003 | The Lady of Saigon 1996/97 | Once Upon a Time in Beirut 1992/94 | A Suspended Life 1985 | Beirut, My City 1982 | The Sahara is Not for Sale 1978 | Children of War 1976 | Le Liban Dans La Tourmente 1975


Friday, 20 April 2012, 6.00 p.m., Filmforum, Ticket

Jocelyne Saab
Libanon, Frankreich
Fokus: Die arabische Welt