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72 min. German, Arabic, French.

“And in the darkness, I smile at life.” This sentence, written by Rosa Luxemburg in solitary confinement at the end of 1917, gets to the very heart of what characterises her letters from prison: a shining joie de vivre, regardless of the political situation. Her descriptions of birds, flowers, clouds and colours demonstrate an awareness of nature’s beauty experienced with all the senses. Numerous excerpts from the radical socialist’s lyrical letters in both German and Arabic form the threads running through this essayistic collage. They are joined by modern-day shots of wintry Berlin, a two-person reading in Beirut, archive material from the First World War, a battle song of the labour movement, traces of Nico, Gerhard Richter, Brecht, Breton, voices, sounds, music and the soundless comments of a self. Together, they form a polyphony of visually and acoustically overlapping layers. From this retrospective look at the 20th century, at Germany and the Middle East, at the militant struggles that took place both here and there, emerge personal conclusions as well as the acknowledgement that resistance and beauty can indeed co-exist, not least in dark times. (Birgit Kohler)

Ghassan Salhab was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1958. In addition to making his own films, he collaborates on screenplays in Lebanon and France. He also teaches film in Lebanon. Ghassan Salhab has also published his texts and articles in various magazines. In 2012, he published his first anthology, Fragments du livre du naufrage.

Rosa’s letters

Maybe you will never know
The paths are becoming more and more sinuous
Definitely, we do not fear them
We continue to swim against the current
But water is scarce, comrade
I salute you!

UNE ROSE OUVERTE / WARDA is the second part of an essay tryptic. The first, L’ENCRE DE CHINE (2016), made both a personal and collective statement of loss: the loss of one’s path, the loss of the gesture, the loss of insurrectionary thought. A defeat without resignation, however. UNE ROSE OUVERTE / WARDA continues this reflection by way of an emblematic and tragic figure: Rosa Luxemburg, through the stirring letters she wrote from prison. (Ghassan Salhab)

Production Ghassan Salhab. Production company Mirrors (Beirut, Lebanon). Written and directed by Ghassan Salhab. Cinematography Khaled Abdulwahed, Mark Khalife. Editing Carine Doumit, Ghassan Salhab. Music Nico, Kinematik, The Haxan Cloak. Sound design Ghassan Salhab, Rana Eid. Sound Tatiana El Dahdah. With Tatiana El Dahdah, Miriam Younes.

Premiere February 10, 2019, Forum


1986: La clef (15 min.). 1991: Après la mort (21 min.), L’autre (10 min.). 1994: Afrique fantôme (21 min.). 1998: Beyrouth fantôme (116 min.). 1999: De la séduction (32 min., co-directed with N. Khoder). 2000: La rose de personne (10 min.), Baalbeck (56 min., co-directed with Akram Zaatari, Mohamed Soueid). 2002: Terra incognita (120 min.). 2003: Mon corps vivant, mon corps mort (14 min.). 2004: Narcisse perdu (15 min.). 2005: Brêve rencontre avec Jean-Luc Godard, ou le cinéma comme métaphore (40 min.). 2006: Le dernier homme / The Last Man (101 min.), Temps mort (7 min.). 2007: (Posthume) (28 min.). 2009: 1958 (66 min.). 2011: La montagne / The Mountain (80 min.). 2015: Al-wadi / The Valley (134 min., Forum 2015). 2016: L’encre de Chine / Chinese Ink (55 min.). 2017: Aala kad al shawk – Le voyage immobile / As Far As Yearning (23 min., co-directed with Mohamed Soueid, Forum Expanded 2018). 2019: Une rose ouverte / Warda.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
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