In Competition - The Kite
by Paolo Menzione
- Set on the post-1967 Israeli-Lebanese border, Randa Chahal Sabbag takes an ironic look at a human tragedy
This is the third time that Lebanon’s Randa Chahal Sabbag has presented a film to Venice. The Kite is a claustrophobic affair set on the border that separated Israel from Lebanon after the Six-Day-War of 1967. Lamia (played by a young and incredibly beautiful Flavia Bechara) is a sixteen-year-old Lebanese girl who must cross fearsome barbed wire barriers to meet her fiancé. He is also her cousin and lives in a village surrounded by the State of Israel. Albeit under constant army control, Lamia’s “walk of love” entails her crossing into another country but she is happy to do that for her beloved. It starts getting sticky when she becomes aware of and then falls in love with a soldier-cum-philosopher who guards the border.
The story is effectively a human tragedy of immense proportions that the director decided to treat with irony. There is also a happy ending that reconciles one with the power of love, life and the incredible acrobatics that the human imagination is capable of conjuring up. “I have always dreamed about making a comedy,” said Randa Chahal Sabbag – “but I was born in a place tinged with tragedy.” Her father is Lebanese and her mother from Iraq and war has been a constant of Randa’s life. “I have never managed to escape the confines of war. So this film was therapeutic in teaching me how to stop being angry.”
This was a French majority-interest production by Humbert Balsan and made entirely on location in Lebanon, with a native cast.
(Translated from Italian)
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