The Sea Ahead, dir. Ely Dagher, France / Lebanon / Belgium / USA / Qatar 2021, 115 min., Arabic with English subtitles
Creeping malaise engulfs the frame as Jana (Manal Issa) emerges from Beirut’s brightly lit airport and into the still night. Returning home unannounced from Paris, she crosses the dimly lit city alone, finally falling asleep fully clothed on her parents’ sofa.
Despite their nervous efforts to welcome her back, Jana’s numb silence and wordless appraisal of the dramatically changed streets is jarring. She reconnects with her one-time lover Adam, and with him, dives into Beirut’s murky underbelly – the bracing cold of a nighttime swim, the daze of a late night party, the fragile mirage of escaping from the world.
Around them, the city feels suspended in anxious limbo – there are rumours of a tsunami. And memories of Lebanon’s unresolved past bleed into its intangible future.
Thu, 14 Oct 2021
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