I went to watch Philippe Aractingi’s latest movie/documentary “Heritages” and it honestly didn’t live up to my expectations or at least to what I’ve heard and read about it. Heritages is basically a documentary on Aractingi’s family, where he shows in pictures and old footage how they’ve been moving for decades from one country to another and why. While I loved the amount of old pictures, old videos, breath-taking stories and impressive archive the director has, I wasn’t really sure what he was trying to prove or the final message he was trying to relay throughout the movie.
In fact, there were several powerful messages that I loved, specially when he went to meet the family of a good friend he lost during the war, when he sat down with his kids and showed them his old “toys” back from the war days or when he tries to describe to his kids what Achrafieh looked like at some point and how children used to play back then. I loved how he approached his children on the war issue and I hope all parents are as honest and straightforward as Philippe is. However, the last scene was a bit too cheesy and the whole “building nations and staying in Lebanon” thingy is not very convincing, specially that the director has been trying to come back relentlessly to Lebanon but in vain and odds are that his sons and daughter will probably leave Lebanon for the same reasons he did.
Don’t get me wrong as I am not blaming him or saying it’s a bad thing to leave. On the contrary, and just like his wife said, Lebanon is a country that people leave, not stay in and build a family, and that’s the unfortunate truth we all live in these days. Unfortunately, not all of us have the option to leave and even when we do have that choice, it’s not as easy as people might think it is because of several factors such as money or family or society maybe, but for me, that’s not a country I’d want my children to grow in at the moment and probably won’t be for the next 10 years or more. The scenery on that final scene was breath-taking though and reminds us of Lebanon’s beauty or whatever is left of it.
All in all, Heritages is a nice family documentary that I do recommend you watch as the director has done an impressive work collecting all his archive and linking between his grandparents’ stories and his.