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Al Marhala Al Rabiaa / The Fourth Stage

In Al Marhala Al Rabiaa, Ahmad Ghossein weaves a complex and unlikely union of illusion and myth between three concurrent worlds of which he is part: that of cinema, magic, and the changing landscape of southern Lebanon.

The film traces the motivations and implications of the disappearance of a famous magician and ventriloquist named Chico, whom Ghossein assisted as a child. The duo would tour villages in the south of Lebanon, performing captivating magic tricks to bewildered children. Over the years, the magician gradually began to retreat from the public sphere. Al Marhala Al Rabiaa also captures the apparition of monumental geometric sculptures in Lebanon’s south. The majority of them are unmarked; they do not commemorate specific events or people, yet their vertical and futuristic forms extend majestically into the sky, as if to announce a time to come. Situated at the outskirts or entrances of towns, close to valleys and mountains, and in public squares, the sculptures perforate the rural and urban fabric and lead the artist to wonder: Have illusion and magic, as elements that are essential in shaping a country's collective imaginary, been replaced by other ideological and religious systems of fabulation forged by political parties and the nation state?

For further information please download the respective Forum Expanded sheet (PDF).

Production: Ahmad Ghossein, Beirut
Screenplay: Ahmad Ghossein
Camera: Karam Ghoussein
Mit: Mouhamad Wehbi, Hajj Akil, Ali Fahes
Format: DCP, Color
Running time: 37 min
Language: Arabic

Photo: Still AL MARHALA AL RABIAA © Ahmad Ghossein

When the Ventriloquist Came and Spoke to Me

When investigating mythology and legend in countries where the collective imagination is shaped by illusion and superstition, one encounters monuments erected in secluded areas. Their sudden appearance on these sites – lacking symbolic significance or any clear connection to the events they are intended to commemorate – can seem perplexing.

Ahmad Ghossein’s lecture performance looks at architects and sculptors working on symbolic and abstract monuments that celebrate the victory in the south of Lebanon, while paving the way for a new visual hegemony.

For further information please download the respective Forum Expanded sheet (PDF).

Production: Ahmad Ghossein, Beirut
Screenplay: Ahmad Ghossein, Rasha Salti
With: Mouhamad Wehbi, Hajj Akil, Ali Fahes
Format: Lecture performance
Running time: 42 min
Language: English, Arabic

Ahmad Ghossein was born in 1981 in Beirut, Lebanon, where he also lives and works. He is an artist and filmmaker, whose work draws on political history through personal narrative. Currently he is preparing his first feature film.

Photo: © Ahmad Ghossein

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur