Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2010 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project The Confession (Al iitiraf)
Category PIFF Supporters Fund
Project The Confession (Al iitiraf)
Director Eliane RAHEB
Country Lebanon
Director's Profile Born in Lebanon in 1972, Eliane Raheb is a female director of two short fiction films The Last Screening, Meeting and three documentaries So Near Yet So Far, Suicide and This is Lebanon. This is Lebanon received the Excellency award in the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (2009) and was aired on the channels Arte, ZDF and NHK. She is also one of the founders of the cultural cooperative for cinema Beirut DC where she is since 2001 the Artistic director of the Arab film festival - Ayam Beirut al Cinem’iya. She is also a documentary teacher at USJ/IESAV University since 2002.
In 1973, Assaad Shaftari felt that his inferior brothers (the Muslims) were gaining power and joined the Phalanges party to defend ‘the Christian cause’. There, he became one of the main ’intelligence’ leaders of a major Christian militia, until the Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990. After the war, Assaad felt a terrible guilt for his actions and publicly admitted being responsible for harming more than 500 people during the conflict. Revolving around the narrative of Assaad Shaftari, The Confession seeks to understand how dramatic circumstances can induce someone to commit crimes, and how this changes forever not only the victims, but the perpetrator as well. In one hand, we try to analyze the reasons behind fanatic and tribal attitudes that create potential war criminals. On the other hand, we will provoke Assaad, not only into analysis and self-confrontation, but into taking real responsibility by facing his own victims. Whatever scene will end the film, we would be left with the complexity of such a situation, with the loneliness of two people dealing each other in their own ways with the war, and its memories, its violence, and its painful consequences on the human beings and the price to pay.
Director's Note
The Confession will allow Shaftari to confess his actions during the war, and create the structure where he can confront himself and his victims. Learning about his motives behind committing those acts, maybe one could understand human nature a bit better and help the Lebanese people deal with the war and the price we all paid. We hope this film will provoke audiences to think about the nature of humanity and violence, and about the war crimes not only in Lebanon but also throughout the world, perpetrated massively in the 20th century, in Europe, Rwanda, Bosnia, South Africa… It is very important to raise the question of real responsibility; the responsibility of war criminals for their own actions and motives, that of society towards its own citizens, and finally the responsibility of the viewer, who will be invited, through this film, to be the sole judge of this situation.
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