untitled part 1: everything and nothing

2001 | 00:40:40 | United States | Arabic | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Crime or Violence, Interview, Memory, Middle East, Politics, Post-colonialism

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An intimate dialogue with Soha Bechara, ex-Lebanese National Resistance fighter, in her Paris dorm room. The interview was taped during the last year of the Israeli occupation, one year after her release from captivity in El-Khiam torture and interrogation center (South Lebanon) where she had been detained for 10 years—six in isolation. Revising notions of resistance, survival, and will, the overexposed image of the survivor speaks quietly and directly to the camera—not speaking of the torture, but of separation amd loss; of what is left behind and what remains.

"Soha Bechara is a heroine in Lebanon; pictures of her are seen in many homes in the south, and posters of her were seen all around downtown Beirut when I was working there in the early 90s. She was captured in 1988 for trying to assassinate the general of the SLA, Antoine Lahad (the South Lebanese Army was a proxy militia set up and controlled by the Israeli forces to give a Lebanese façade to the occupation of South Lebanon). I didn't ask her anything specifically about the torture she underwent or the trauma of detention; she was being interviewed to death by the European and Arab press over the details of her captivity and the minutiae of her surviving it and the conditions in El-Khiam and the detainees and the resistance. I went to her small dorm room, not much bigger than her cell (she is presently studying international law at the Sorbonne); she sat on her bed and I asked her about the distance lived between Khiam and Paris, and Beirut and Paris, and what she left in Khiam and what she brought with her. A story about flowers and how she never puts them in water, how it felt for her now to be under such demand, and who she was, and what the title of the tape should be, and a few other things. This video material that I recorded of the time spent with her is not precious, just time and a conversation, and intense intimacy at a close and unbreachable distance."

—Jayce Salloum

English and French-subtitled versions available.

Premiere

2002