We Felt Again That Everything is New

Mary Jirmanus  |  Research on the Arts Program  |  2018  |  Lebanon
What was the nature of the relation between leftist and progressive cinematic production and social movement activity emerging from 1970s and 80s Lebanon? How did cinema serve simultaneously as a mirror or a critique of leftist political project? Similarly, what were the horizons of distribution and circulation for the cinematic works, and to what extent did these contribute to a critical local dialogue on movement practice from the grassroots.  The proposed monograph is an analytic-artist study of Arab militant cinema of the 1970s and 80s in relation to the social movements in Lebanon and beyond with which they interacted.  The book actively maps a constellation of films, filmmakers, workers, organizations, affinities, ideas and practices that together comprised a distinct moment of political possibility. Taking an ethnographic-historical approach, combined with close-reading of films, and direct written interventions by the study’s participants, the text aspires to be useful for artists, scholars and activists alike.