‘I Want to See’: film review

This is one of GOMA film screenings under the theme The Promised Lands .

Click on this link for details of the films being screened at GOMA under this theme and others.


Je Veux Voir : Film Review

The French have a long history in Lebanon even before the Treaty of Versailles carved up the middle east to give France a mandate over this part of Syria. This followed the defeat of the Ottoman empire and the new world order after the first world war.

So it is little wonder that the film producers of ‘Je Veux Voir’ would want to bring A famous french actor, Catherine Deneuve, to see the destruction of southern Lebanon by Israeli bombers during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006. It was this event (the bombing of Lebanon) that prompted me to launch this website on the day that the invasion started 13 July 2006. Arabic actor, Rabih Mroueh, takes Deneuve on a drive through Beirut down to the frontier in the south, a kind of road documentary through mine fields laid by Isradeli soldiers that still cause cows to blow up.

THE side view of the new Gallery of Modern Art at Kurilpa Point where free films are screened on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm. See Goma website for details.Picture: David Kelly

Along the road we see the pictures of the martyrs who died during the conflict, their posters hanging from electricity poles beside the road. Deneuve devotes one day to Lebanon in this documentary. We see a lot of the south of Lebanon including the village where Rabih Mroueh’s  grandmother used to live, now destroyed so thoroughly that Mroueh could not recognise her house.

Lebanon is very mountainous and the those mountains represent a cutural divide of sorts as well. To the West is Europe with its cultural effect on Beirut and to the east, Damascus and the cultural allegiance to Arab culture — sometimes confused by Westerners as Musllim culture.

Behind the images in the film footage you could see how influential Hezbollah is in Lebanon, drawing allegiance from christians and muslims alike.

Many countries play out their strategic war games in Beirut and after the drive we see Deneuve dressed to kill at a function for foreign diplomats, UN representatives and various politicians who treat Denueve like royalty, the queen of celebrity who traversed landmined districts to see what happened in this ancient land.

Regardless of motive I am glad Deneuve decided to do this project because she asked questions of Rabih Mroueh who provided the background of the war. Deneuve herself was paranoid of driving without her seat belt done up, which was a little ironic given the dangerous nature of the country she was in.

I would have liked to know more about the war and less about the celebrity angle of Deneuve exploited in the film.

Ian Curr
January 2010

Trailer for the Lebanese movie “I want to see” by Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, starring Catherine Deneuve. [Arabic: الشريط الدعائي للفيلم اللبناني “بدّي شوف” للمخرجين جوّانا جاجي توما وخليل جريج، بطولة كاثرين دونوف]

[Details of Film “Je veux voir” par Joanna Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige avec Catherine Deneuve Category:  je veux voir بدّي شوف خليل جريج جوانا جاجي —Bande-annonce du film Libanais “Je veux voir” par Joanna Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige avec Catherine Deneuve]

Coming up

Sayat Nova aka The Colour of Pomegranates


3.30pm Sun 24 Jan 2010 / Cinema A GOMA

‘Sergei Paradjanov’s first film after his Ukrainian masterpiece Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors was a paean to his own Armenian heritage, an exotic mosaic of the mystical and historical that achieves a surreal effect (the more so, the less we comprehend the actual symbolism).

In tracing the life of the great 18th century Armenian poet and monk Sayat Nova through his writings, Paradjanov weaves a metaphorical short history of the Armenian nation, telling of Turkish genocide, Persian invasions, and a vast migration to the Russian section in the early 20th century, all through daringly symbolic imagery. (Sayat Nova himself died during one of the Persian invasions.)

Beyond this the film is an extraordinary artistic rendering of ceremony and ritual, architecture, iconography and colour symbology (eg. the colour of pomegranates) that, even for the uninitiated, works its extraordinary magic.’ Pacific Film Archive


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