And suddenly, everything is silent

BEIRUT: Four progressive women document the 2019 Beirut uprisings, until Covid-19 hits.

October 2019 marked another turning point for Lebanon’s decades-old tragedy. Beirut and other major cities witnessed widespread protests against the government, mismanagement, and deep corruption. Today a new government is in power, but the crisis is still there. The economy is on the brink of total collapse, and there are no signs that the present government has the ability or the will to change things.

In that context, the latest documentary by veteran Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri stands out as a relevant comment to the unfolding Lebanese drama, and – as is her trademark – she has chosen to do it by focusing on the real-life struggles of women.

Beirut: Eye of the Storm, a film by Mai Masri
Beirut: Eye of the Storm, a film by Mai Masri

Film about longing

Beirut Eye of the Storm is documentation for progressive women who, themselves, were documenting the October 2019 protests, and we get to see how a prevailing mood of hope and change evaporates when the Covid-19 lockdowns a few months later hit the Lebanese capital. We meet journalist Hanine, Iraqi camerawoman Lujain, and Noel and Michelle, two artist sisters whose often-ironic songs have made them a voice for their generation.

It is a film about longing, a wish for something better in a turbulent situation. The non-chronological story switches back and forth between hope and uprising . . .

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Hans Henrik Fafner
Fafner is a regular critic in Modern Times Review.
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