A Trip to the Barbershop
DENMARK, LEBANON / 2010 / Arabic, English, Danish / Color, B&W / Blu-ray (SD) / 23 min
Director, Script, Photography: Selim Mourad
Editing: Myra Boutros, Selim Mourad
Sound: Alain Donio
Producer, Source: The National Film School of Denmark
Text messages to a boyfriend in Roanne, everyday conversation with parents in Beirut, and life in Copenhagen. Capturing the tentative life in Copenhagen like a diary with nostalgia for home in Beirut, this is a love letter that depicts the isolation of living in a foreign land and intimate time spent together with the director’s loved ones. The Lebanese director made a video work in Denmark, which was one of the documentaries born from a student exchange project at the National Film School of Denmark.
[Director’s Statement] It is difficult for me sometimes to talk about A Trip to the Barbershop since it was one of the most singular experiences I’ve gone through. The process was different. Together with two other Lebanese filmmakers, I had to move to a city I knew almost nothing about and make a film there. The experience was overwhelming, and I knew I would make a personal creative documentary since the emotions of being implanted in a new territory to explore, a new space very different from mine, were very strong. It was also a time when I had a special romance going on in my life.
Therefore, narrative form wasn’t exactly my first interest, and neither was recording interviews. My goal was to write a poem, through image and sound; a poem that would reflect the city—or to be more humble, my understanding of the city of Copenhagen—while reflecting my sorrow and my longing for my home. So there I was, walking across the city with my “pen” camera, writing down whatever caught my attention, recording music that happened to be there and thoughts crossing my mind. The trip led me to France for the sake of the story and closing a love chapter. It was all in all a re-looking process—both inside and outside, as the title suggests.
One might not have a similar experience twice because the second time might just be easier; the first time is always initiatory. I always like to see my work as different after A Trip to the Barbershop. I like to believe it helped me move a step further toward the cinematic form I’d like to achieve.
Selim Mourad was born in 1987 in Lebanon. After graduating from the Collège du Sacré-Coeur Gemmayzeh, a Catholic school in Beirut, and a brief semester in medical school, where he realized this wasn’t his true dream, he started his audiovisual and film studies at IESAV (Institut d’Etudes Scéniques, Audiovisuelles et Cinématographiques) at the Université Saint-Joseph, also located in Beirut. His filmography includes a few short documentaries, such as Letter to My Sister (2008), and several medium-length films, including + (2010), Pouldreuzic (2011), and 75 Rue St Michel (2011), in which he turns his personal and everyday life into fiction. He is currently preparing his master’s film and teaching cinema at a secondary school in Beirut, while occasionally filming short documentaries for Arabic channels.