Al-wadi

The Valley
Ghassan Salhab
2014

11.02. 21:00 Eng. subtitles Delphi Filmpalast
12.02. 13:30 Eng. subtitles CineStar 8
13.02. 18:30 Eng. subtitles Akademie der Künste
14.02. 22:00 Eng. subtitles CinemaxX 4

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Wandering aimlessly after losing his memory in a car accident, a man is taken in by the inhabitants of a farm in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, whose secret business is the drugs they manufacture in a laboratory on the closely guarded property. The presence of this nameless stranger has consequences for the clandestine community.
Little separates beauty and horror here. A latent sense of danger pervades the vast swathes of sublime landscape. A catastrophe looms. Tensions also rise in the cramped quarters of the house. The identity of the man without a past becomes an increasing issue as doubts regarding his amnesia rear their head. Is he a doctor or a mechanic? An angel or a spy? Like a blank page, he lends himself to fantasies of all kinds and ultimately becomes a prisoner. At once concrete and otherworldly, with a powerful soundtrack and images of great intensity, the film shows a set of melancholy existences on the eve of the apocalypse. Alongside radio news reports on current political crises, it leaves ample room for poetry, painting and a love song, and thus questions the status of art in times of terror and war, that is, in the here and now. (Birgit Kohler)

Production: Abbout Productions, Beirut; Les Films d'Ici, Paris; Unafilm, Cologne
Screenplay: Ghassan Salhab
Camera: Bassem Fayad
Cast: Carlos Chahine, Carole Abboud, Fadi Abi Samra, Mounzer Baalkabi
Format: DCP, DCP 1:1.78 (16:9), Colour
Running time: 128 min
Language: Arabic

Photo: © Abbout Productions