Festival to feature Lebanese film about theater with inmates

28 de maio de 2016

São Paulo – A festival of films about theater and performance, Between Realities and Fictions, set to take place in São Paulo from June 1st to 9th, will feature a Lebanese movie. Titled 12 Angry Lebanese, it portrays the work of stage director Zeina Daccache leading into a staging of the play 12 Angry Men with inmates at Lebanon’s Roumieh prison. The movie, which Daccache also directed, will show on June 2nd, 7pm. All films will be shown at Sesc Consolação.

“It’s a very vulnerable part of the world that’s constantly under attack, and the more we see different realities, different takes on what it’s like to live there, the better,” says festival curator Marcia Abujamra regarding the choice of a documentary made in Lebanon. Abujamra is a stage director, producer and translator of Arab descent. She points out that besides showcasing Daccache’s theatrical work, the movie documents her social, political, and therapeutic work.

A theater director specializing in dealing with unprivileged and traumatized people, Daccache worked with the inmates for 15 months. The documentary follows them through drama therapy sessions and their effects and through moments of crisis and joy, also featuring interviews with the inmates. It won the Noor Prize for Outstanding Documentary at the 14th Annual Arab Film Festival in 2010. The film dates from 2009 and runs at 78 minutes.

The purpose of the festival, a production of Sesc (Brazil’s Social Service of Commerce), is to shed light on the connection between reality and fiction. “They set out to register what is real, but end up working with fiction,” the curator says of the documentaries. Abujamra claims the idea of the real is being explored to an ever greater degree, hence the growing relevance of documentary films. “The notion of the real has taken and is taking the performing arts by storm in a major way,” she says.

The documentaries take different approaches to presenting theater and performance. There are films that show the work of one particular director, like the festival’s opening film Reza Abdoh – Theatre Visionary, about the titular Iranian director, and O Teatro Segundo Antunes Filho (Theater According to Antunes Filho), about the Brazilian stage director. Some of the films keep track of the entire production, creation and staging of a play; others focus on plays staged in different places or on behind-the-scenes footage of preparations for plays; and others still combine creative and documentary work.

In addition to the Lebanese film and the documentary on Reza Abdoh, who is an American, the program also includes movies shot in Belgium, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. The curator notes that this is a one-time opportunity to see these films. “Reza Abdouh is very young, and he had a major impact on the lives of people who are involved in theater,” says Abujamra about the opening documentary. She also notes that this is a unique opportunity to see a film about theater work in prison. The festival will also feature discussions with specialists about the films.

Film festival Entre Realidades e Ficções (Between Realities and Fictions)
June 1st to 9th, 2016
Where: Sesc Consolação, Rua Dr. Vila Nova, 245 – São Paulo – SP
Free admission – tickets will be available 30 minutes prior to each film
Workshops – to register for the selection process, write to by June 2nd at 8pm
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*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum