8 Lebanese Films That Tackled Homosexuality

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- Red Chewing Gum, Akram Zaatari, fiction,  2000, 11’

A video letter that tells a story of separation between two men, set within the context of the changing Hamra, a formerly booming commercial center. The video looks at image-making in relationship to consumption and the possession of desired subjects. It examines issues of desire and power, and the attempt to capture fleeting time.

- How I Love You, Akram Zaatari, documentary, 2001, 29’

An exploration of sexuality among gay men in Lebanon. A couple and three individuals talk about their sex lives, about commitments and failures, about their relationships to their bodies, about their passions and love in a society where homosexuality is still punished by imprisonment. The video uses light to produce a white veil that obstructs seeing, hence rendering character identification almost impossible. Through this obstruction, the video locates itself within a specific social context.

- Cadillac Blues, Mazen Khaled, fiction,  2002, 26’

Omar and Ryan are very close. But how do you measure closeness? Is it the same as physical proximity? Omar has a secret nightlife, which has its share of drug content. Ryan has an even bigger secret. Each one of them uses the Cadillac to live out his other life. It is the only space where they can act out their secrets.

- The Beirut Apartment, Daniele Salaris,  documentary, 2007

The small spaces of an apartment contain issues of international scale in this intimate documentary. Lebanese law criminalizes LGBT people, making them vulnerable to blackmail and attack, at times even from the state police themselves. This strikes fear among the victims which prevents them from reporting the hate crimes. With safety as a concern, an apartment was rented where interviewees could speak freely. Despite differing backgrounds and opinions these eloquent men and women share their struggles.

-Al Bosta, Philippe Aractangi, Fiction, 2005, 110’

A group of youngsters from different religious backgrounds and persuasions come together aboard a bus to present a series of dancing and singing routines, based on a modern approach to the traditional Dabkeh “Techno.” The bus drives them on a tour across Lebanon, during which the troop succeeds in overcoming the memory of war, and asserting the language of love. There’s a hint about one of the dancers who is attempting to come out to his family.

-Lesbanon,  Alissar Ghazal, documentary,  2007, 26’

A documentary shot in Lebanon about three lesbians and the lives they lead in Lebanon. They share their coming out stories, and how they met each other. Two of them are accepted by their parents, while the third one chooses to remain in the closet.

- Sukkar Banat (Caramel), Nadine Labaki, fiction, 2007, 95’

Layal works in a beauty salon in Beirut along with 2 other women. Each one has a problem: Layal has a relationship with a married man, Nisrine who is no more a virgin, will soon be married, Rima is attracted to girls. Jamal, the regular and close customer, is worried about getting old. Rose, a tailor with a shop next to the salon, is an old lady who devoted her life to take care of her older sister Lili, has found her first love.

- Help, Marc Abi Rashed, fiction, 2009, 90’

It’s the story of a teenager named Ali who lives in a van in Lebanon. His life suddenly turns upside down when he meets Thuraya, who shares her apartment with her gay friend ‘Jano’. The movie follows Thuraya’s everyday life and sexual encounters, especially when she gets a new client who’s willing to pay her $200 more for a Ménage à trios.

Written by Phoenix and sara

Phoenix is a self-centered and sarcastic soul incarnated, perhaps by accident, in the bodi of a woman. As a writer with a temper, she replaces her "y's with an annoying “i” for aesthetical purposes and lives to crack a joke, at the expense of others. Her paranoid nature makes her sensitive to plants, animals and people. Ironicalli, after making fun of the Meem lesbians for years, she found a warm home there and is now renowned as its veri own emotional pest. She enjoys reading the paper with a hot cup of black tea while nude, more often than not.

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