Lebanon / Wissam Charaf, first Arab director to win the Europa Award at Venice

Dirty Difficult Dangerous de Wissam Charaf

At the closing of the Giornate degli Autori (Authors’ Days), the members of the jury awarded the Europa Cinemas label to Franco-Lebanese director Wissam Charaf for his film Dirty Difficult Dangerous. He is the first Arab director to receive this award.

Created in 2004, the Giornate degli Autori is a parallel section to the Venice Film Festival and, like the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, it promotes films which are both ambitious and innovative in their form and aesthetic. A dozen films take part in this competition each year. The Europa Cinemas label is a mark of quality created by a network of exhibitors of the same name. Given to selected European co-productions it helps distribution in the network’s cinemas.

Supported by many international organisations such as the CNC, the Doha Film Institute and the Italian Ministry of Culture, Dirty Difficult Dangerous was co-scripted by Hala Dabaji, Mariette Désert and Wissam Charaf. The story is about a Syrian refugee, Ahmed, hoping to find love with Mehdia, an Ethiopian housekeeper. But in Beirut that seems impossible; not to mention a mysterious illness gnawing at Ahmed, gradually transforming his body.

Through this story of frustrated love the director shows the daily life of refugees and domestic “servants”. As he explains in an interview with Cineuropa, he wanted to humanize the people he sees every day in his area of Beirut. The story’s originality was recognized not only by the Venice jury but also by Lebanese critic Hovic Havisham: “Charaf brings a fresh eye to Lebanese reality […]. A look not seen before in Lebanese cinema.

Sources : Broadcast Pro, Mad Distribution, Giornate degli Autori, Cineuropa

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