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Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

The Lebanese Rocket Society

Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige

Lebanon 2012. 93 Min.
Color/bw. DCP. Arabic/E/F/e

“Lebanese rockets are conquering the skies above the land of cedar trees!” Headlines like these appeared between 1960 and 1967… Afterwards, Lebanon's space exploration ambitions fell into oblivion, until the two filmmakers Hadjithomas and Joreige opened the print, photo and film archives and interviewed the people who were responsible for the project at the time. A true science fiction story was revealed to them, which they have brought to light with their film.

 

The film focuses on the Armenian University of Haigazian, with its students and professors: brilliant craftsmen at the start of their careers, who became a specialised crew that was able to launch an 8-metre-long rocket, the "Cedar 4", into the stratosphere. An entire nation was behind this ambition, which was unique in the Arab world. But the story also includes unsuccessful attempts and doomed flying objects, which shattered to bits across the rocky landscapes shortly after takeoff. However, the progress was so spectacular that the political and military authorities interfered and ... with this film, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige fire their own rocket in honour of Lebanon, which is literally capable of high-flying projects. (jp)

CREDITS

DirectorJoana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
CinematographyRachel Aoun, Jeanne Lepoirie
EditingTina Baz
MusicNadim Mishlawi
ProducersEdouard Mauriat, Georges Schoucair
DistributionUrban Distribution International, Montreuil, www.urbandistrib.com

Joana Hadjithomas

The works of Joana Hadjithomas, born in Beirut in the summer of 1969 and raised during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), dig up traces of the history of a country that to this day is marked by war, assassinations, corruption and Mafia-like politics. Since the early 1990ies, she works with Khalil Joreige, establishing thematic and formal links between photography, video, performance, installation, sculpture, and cinema, being documentary or fiction film. Together, they have directed numerous films that have been shown and awarded in  important international film festivals like Cannes (Je veux voir, 2008) or Berlin (Memory Box, 2021), before having theatrical releases in many countries. Their artworks are part of major private and public collections including British Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), or Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York).

Khalil Joreige

The works of Khalil Joreige, born in Beirut in the summer of 1969 and raised during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), dig up traces of the history of a country that to this day is marked by war, assassinations, corruption and Mafia-like politics. Since the early 1990ies, he works with Joana Hadjithomas, establishing thematic and formal links between photography, video, performance, installation, sculpture, and cinema, being documentary or fiction film. Together, they have directed numerous films that have been shown and awarded in  important international film festivals like Cannes (Je veux voir, 2008) or Berlin (Memory Box, 2021), before having theatrical releases in many countries. Their artworks are part of major private and public collections including British Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), or Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York).