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Deneuve Wants To See




After Satrapi's Persepolis French Star Sets Eyes on War Torn Beirut in Upcoming French Lebanese film


Catherine Deneuve in "Je Veux Voir" ©


It seems that French Stars are drawn to the Orient in recent years. Juliette Binoche is to team up with Abbas Kiarostami in an upcoming film by the Iranian film  Maestro and Marjane Satrapi's film Persepolis includes a prestigious cast of French actors including French Star Catherine Deneuve. The latter has been the quintessential symbol of French elegance and feminity for more than four decades. Currently on tour to promote her film Persepolis she has nevertheless had the time to shoot a short documentary-fiction film playing her own role in a French Lebanese production directed by Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and  Khalil Joreige.



Catherine Deneuve mother hero in Iranian director
Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis"


Synopsis :


"How can we render the realities of  terrible war in Lebanon in the light of the recent air strikes that took place in this country last july. How can we continue to make films in these conditions and still believe in the power of films to change the world ? We decided to imagine a movie, rather a cinematographic experience, where a beautiful women who also happens to be a film icon and great actress would come to Lebanon. Our Lebanon, she would meet our favorite film star Rabih Mroué today. Together they decide to go to southern Lebanon an SEE for themselves what it looks like. Through their eyes we can also see what our pain looks like and what it feels like to live here.

For us the only person capable of being this person was Catherine Deneuve. We wrote this film for her not knowing that she would accept it. She was our gift come true ... "


-  Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige

More on the film in the following article ( in French )



Female Solidarity: The beautiful Female Director/actor Nadine Labaki
film "Caramel was this year's  critically acclaimed  Lebanese film
and Ghassem Salhab's
Terra Incognita
boldly explores sexual taboo
in contemporary Lebanon


In recent years Lebanese film directors have been at the forefront of some of the best films made in the middle East today. Exploring issues often taboo such as sex, the role of women and their struggles to live or simply survive in a country that has been at crossroads between civil war, terrorism and short era's of Peace. An irony for a country with a long history founded by the Phoenicians and which was considered as the Switzerland of the Middle East. 


Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and  Khalil Joreige
© & Clarence Elie-Rivera/Getty Images for TFF



Like Iran before the revolution, Lebanon was considered as an Island of Stability where foreign investments and tourism flourished at a fast pace. Maybe too fast as is often the case in times of economic growth. So goes the saying "When the money keeps rolling in, you don't ask why ? Think of all the happy Good times Now". Euphoria has certainly given place to disillusionment for an entire generation and for many young Lebanese as is the case for the Iranian youth in Iran. However Art and particularly films have probably become the most powerful tool against intolerance, ignorance and blind hate between people regardless of nationality, sex or race. As Marjane Satrapi expressed in a recent interview in regard to her film Persepolis: " If after seeing my film people realize that this   unhappy Iranian girl could be anyone of us in the same situation, then Vincent ( Parronaud) and I  have achieved our goal though this movie."


So maybe there is Hope after all ...





Authors notes:




Recommended Readings:



About the Author:
Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.

... Payvand News - 12/17/07 ... --

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