Erased,___Ascent of the Invisible

- LEBANON / 2018 / Arabic, English / Color, B&W / DCP / 76 min

Director, Script: Ghassan Halwani
Photography: Ghassan Halwani, Inka Dewitz, Carine Doumit, Joan Chaker
Editing: Vartan Avakian
Sound: Inka Dewitz, Ghassan Halwani
Sound Design: Toni Gitani, Rami Sabbagh
World Sales: mec film

The photo of a missing person, a family civil register that lists a missing person’s name, a mass grave beneath a landfill . . . Adding surmise to the search for truth, this film digs up those who have gone missing just as the director wields a box cutter to the many posters covering the walls of the city, as if to resist the crimes being papered over and denied. With the lingering image of a man kidnapped thirty-five years ago during Lebanon’s Civil War, this film takes up the innumerable absent existences that were written off as anonymous deaths after the war, and breathes life into them through animation.

[Director’s Statement] Thirty-five years ago, I witnessed the kidnapping of a man I know.

He has disappeared since. Ten years ago, I caught a glimpse of his face while walking in the street, but I wasn’t sure it was him.

Parts of his face were torn off, but his features had remained unchanged since the incident.

Yet something was different, as if he wasn’t the same man.

Ghassan Halwani

Lives and works in Beirut. After the short animated film Jibraltar (2005), he was mainly involved in collaborations with Lebanese and Arab filmmakers, playwrights, contemporary artists, publishers, and musicians. Among his contributions: a short animation film closing the feature documentary Lebanese Rocket Society by Khalil Joreige and Joanna Hadjithomas, a long contribution on several plays and installations with Lebanese playwright and artist Rabih Mroué, and the animated music video Takhabot with Palestinian musician Tamer Abu Ghazaleh.

Erased, ___Ascent of the Invisible is his second film and first feature. Besides his artistic engagement, his work focuses on the public and political spheres. He is currently contributing to the creation of a national archive dedicated to enforced disappearances in Lebanon. In parallel, he is collaborating on research towards a film about the National Master Plan for the regulation of land and property in Lebanon.