Category Archives: Movies & Television

Love During The Siege: Fighting Hunger Through Hope and Love

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The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press is held on June 2 every year, which is the anniversary of Samir Kassir’s assassination, and is funded by the European Union. The winners of the 2016 editions were as follows:

Opinion piece category: Maher Massoud (born in 1977) from Syria, an opinion writer for many Arab newspapers, magazines and websites and a researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO).

Investigative article category: Mohammad Tarek (born in 1989) from Egypt, an investigative journalist at “Al-Masry Al-Youm” newspaper.

Audiovisual report category: Matar Ismaïl (born in 1988) from Syria, has been covering developments in Syria since the very beginning of the uprising in March 2011.

I’ve seen Ismail’s short movie “Love under Siege” and it’s a beautiful one. It sheds the light on the daily life of a Syrian family struggling to survive under siege south of Damascus and shows how these families fight the siege and hunger through hope and love they have learned to find during the hardest of time.

This is a reminder that Syria is still at war, that thousands of families living 2 hours away from Beirut are starving and dying every day.

Pamela el Kik Says She Got “Inspired” By Charlie Chaplin

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jer

Pamela el Kik delivered a speech this week on Menna W Jerr, which was basically the Arabic version of The Great Dictator’s Speech (Charlie Chaplin). Unfortunately, she didn’t bother to mention that it was Chaplin’s speech but now she’s saying MTV cut off this part during the show’s editing.

I am guessing she’s probably right but she still should have mentioned at first that it’s Chaplin speech before reciting it in Arabic. Also, saying that she got inspired from The Great Dictator is inaccurate as it’s pretty much the same speech word by word. That’s not inspiration, that’s pure translation 🙂

All in all, I guess we should look at the positive side here, that more Lebanese now know Chaplin’s memorable speech.

PS: Good job Lebanese Art police on catching that mistake.

[YouTube]

The 2016 Worst Lebanese Pick Up Lines on OTV

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otv

I am still not a Hisham Haddad fan but yesterday’s #Lahonwbas TV segment was epic. The stuff they showed were hilarious but the OTV guy hitting on his female guest segment was rather more disturbing than funny. The host’s comments were vulgar and very lame, even lamer than the “bass jeete inte 3elyit el 7arara” guy from last year.

In fact, what the OTV host (no idea what his name is) did was borderline sexual harassment but he sounded like such a loser that his guest was probably trying hard not to laugh out loud.

Here’s what he was telling her:

El 7elo bya3mil Sekkare ma hek?

Teb Feena nkhaffif chouwe level el jamel wel 7ala 7atta ma ye3la el sekkare ma3na?

Then he went on:

Bchoufik el Khamees el mo2bal nchallah. Fi ghenniye bit2oul “Zayid 7alaki” Ma ba3rif iza 3al canderel.

Teb mnekhoud break la2anno ballashet dabbi2

Ballashet dabbi2? WTF is wrong with you dude?

Start watching at Minute 10:45. [Link]

Min Bya3ref: A Lebanese TV Show That Is Making Me Watch TV Again

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Over the past years I found myself moving away from watching local TV towards streaming online video content. I am one of those people who spends a lot of time in front of screens, with the difference of TV now being my second screen while Laptop or Mobile is first.

With the exception of the primetime news, I rarely find myself fixated on a local TV show. Many TV programs nowadays insult our intelligence, are extremely biased and opinionated, have poor production and content value or have literally nothing to say, they are just filling air time.

Min Bya3ref is a show that stands out from the crowd. For the past few weeks, I found myself enjoying every single episode and actually participating remotely in the show. I realized that many people feel the same, even my 6 year-old tries to participate by guessing the answers and feeling extremely proud when he gets it right (even though he understands nothing). In fact, the question sets include everything from general knowledge to social media and viral stories from Lebanon and the Arab World so everyone can take part in that show.

To me, these are all signs proving that the format is successful, entertaining and engaging. It has brought me back from being a passive TV viewer to a more engaged one. The show has a good production value, the set is simple and well designed and the content is very well prepared and custom tailored for the audience. More importantly, the presenter Nadia Bsat fits perfectly in the show, she is charismatic, respectful and bring out the very best out of her guests (which is something we really miss on TV and enjoy seeing). My only complaint is that some guests tend to take their participation lightly and end up acting silly during the show. It’s nice to have fun participants but they need to remember that this is a serious show and not a comedy.

I hope we see more programs like it on TV and wish that in the future they introduce an online tool or app to give people at home the ability to participate and interact with the show, or simply allow people to register and take part in it, not just media people and celebrities.

At the end we know that content will always remain king, even though we are overwhelmed today by information and everything is literally at our fingertips one Google search away, but whenever good, relevant, and local content is properly packaged, the result is always a successful product and an interested and engaged audience.

Min Bya3ref shows every Wednesday at 8:45pm on MTV Lebanon.

Racist Joke on one of LBC’s TV Shows

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joke1

Elie Sleiman on MTV’s Menna w Jor featured two jokes from the LBC TV show Haram as part of his “Joke of the week” section. I’m really glad Sleiman picked up these jokes because one of them is extremely racist and inappropriate (it’s about black people and white chocolate) and that Pierre pointed out that it’s a racist joke, just a lame one.

To be honest, I have no idea how someone approved this script but then again this whole show “Haram” should not be on air.

Start watching at Minute 09:15

[YouTube]

Chi.N.N Got Cancelled

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chinn

Chi.N.N’s host and producer Salam el Zaatari just posted on Facebook that the show got cancelled following his appearance on MTV’s Menna W Jerr show. I watched his segment on Menna W Jerr and I felt like he wanted to end the show not Al Jadeed. I don’t know what’s happening between them but I wouldn’t have brought the matter live on another TV’s show.

In all cases, that’s too bad. I wasn’t a big fan of Chi.N.N as the hosts were witty and smart but a bit too vulgar. Still, some of their episodes were quite hilarious and they had the only decent political satire show in town.

Salam

[YouTube]

The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud

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Burj hammoud via OldBeirut

Bourj Hammoud used to be a huge garden back in the 1920s before thousands of Armenian refugees began arriving in Beirut and settling in refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. What began as a tent camp soon turned into an urban center and later on in the 1950s an independent municipality.

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Burj Hammoud is one of the most densely populated cities in the Middle East and has been neglected for years by the authorities. Fifteen years ago, several houses and shops were torn to build a bridge right across the overcrowded city. As a result, hundreds of households are now living in detrimental conditions under the bridge or right next to it.

The below video by Joanne Nochu is a leader for a 90 minute film on “The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud” and has received support from the Wenner Gren Foundation.

Here’s a brief on the project:

This project established a filmmaking workshop for young adults living in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon. Bourj Hammoud is a diverse, densely populated, working-class suburb of Beirut that is dominated by Armenian social and political institutions. Earlier dissertation research in Bourj Hammoud looked at the ramifications of various urban planning initiatives as well as infrastructures and social service institutions on the formation of sectarian identity. Using videography and photography, the grantee documented how people obtained much-needed services and resources, like education, medical care, electricity and water. The presence of the grantee’s camera elicited great interest among several of interlocutors and enabled unexpected conversations as grantee and interlocutor filmed the urban landscape of Bourj Hammoud together. The engaged anthropology project established a filmmaking workshop with some interlocutors.

The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud from Joanne Nucho on Vimeo.

Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016]

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Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman? We all went to see Batman v Superman to witness the ultimate showdown between two of the most beloved superheros and the movie turned out to be even better than I expected it to be. The movie is very dark, Ben Affleck played Batman and Bruce Wayne superbly and he’s the best Batman we’ve seen in years, Eisenberg was absolutely brilliant as Lex Luthor, Cavill’s performance as Superman was pretty much the same as his performance in Man of Steel and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was a hit and her role, even though trivial to the plot, had a huge impact.

BatmanVSuperman-xlarge

The action scenes were breathtaking and intense, the fight scenes between between Superman and Batman are unreal and much better than the trailer, the graphics were great (except for one lousy CGI scene), the plot is well written, the story is emotion and action-packed and will engage you from beginning to end. Also, DC comics and superheroes fans are in for a lot of surprises, especially in the final scene. If I were to compare BvS to other DC Comics movies, I would say it’s a huge step from Man of Steel but not as good as “The Dark Knight”.

Batman v Superman is a 2 and a half hours movie but it didn’t feel that long honestly. It’s a masterpiece and I would definitely watch it again. It starts showing tomorrow in Lebanese theaters.

batman

Rating: 4.5/5

Agent 505: Death Trap Beirut (1966)

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agent 505 Source

Agent 505: Death Trap Beirut, also known as La trappola scatta a Beirut (Italy) or Baroud à Beyrouth pour F.B.I. 505 (France) is a 1966 movie shot in Beirut and directed by Manfred R. Köhler. The stars are Frederick Stafford, who was known for his lead role in European spy movies, Chris Howland and Geneviève Cluny.

Here’s the plot:

A couple of beautiful girls are murdered while sunbathing at a luxury hote. The killer too is murdered, but able to reveal – before dying- that they were disposed of because the “knew too much”. Something bad is being planned in Beirut, and it has something to do with a man called The Sheikh, who has only four fingers. It seems this isn’t a lone incident. The Sheikh is also thought to be behind the assassination of several prominent scientists.

What’s interesting is that the movie was entirely shot in Lebanon. It’s not the best spy movie out there but it’s fun and contains a lot of action scenes. Moreover, there are some pretty cool shots from Lebanon’s Golden Age (The 1960s) and I even spotted the Lebanese Police and Army taking part in a couple of scenes.

You can watch it [here], the image and sound quality are perfect.

Here are some of the shots from the movie:

beirut The seaport facing Phoenicia Hotel if I’m not mistaken

jounieh Jesus Christ statue in Jounieh

high speed3 Motorcycle chase led by the Lebanese Police

amen dekhle

high speed1 High speed chase.

car sea Amphibious Vehicle in our seas

LAF The Lebanese Armed Forces.

old2 Old Beirut Airport

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