Lost in LebanonCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Sophia and Georgia Scott, the sister filmmakers behind the riveting documentary Lost in Lebanon, are experienced directors, producers, editor and cinematographer. The Syrian refugee crisis has been an ongoing international issue since the Syrian Revolution began in 2011. Lebanon, Syria’s smaller neighbour to the west with just a population of 4.4 million people, has taken in over 1.5 million Syrians. The Scott sisters closely follow the stories of four refugees: 39-year-old Sheik Abdo, who is the co-founder of an informal camp school; 19-year-old Nemr, who teaches young students; 26-year-old artist Mwafak; and 26-year-old architect Reem, who joined the revolution before she was blacklisted in 2012 and fled to Lebanon.
The opening shot makes one feel a bit of unease, as the camera is on the floor and the shadowy-looking images of faceless people are seen above. The haunting music throughout the documentary is at times eerie and other times soothing. One portion of the sound design is a bit reminiscent of the Terminator 2 score, which is telling in and of itself. The gorgeous cinematography feels as if it is lit with natural lighting, highlighting the intense rays of the Lebanese sun. Some of the aerial shots reveal the vastness of Beirut and the borders of Syria while other crane shots simply follow motorcyclists on the dusted road as they enter one of the rural shelters.
It’s somewhat surprising to hear Sheik Abdo describe how when they got to Lebanon there was nothing so they built up their own tents and constructed their own housing. The initiative and freedom that these poeple have, even making their own informal schools, surely gives them a sense of purpose and autonomy. One would think that Germany, being the European country with the strongest economy, would provide some semblance of sovereignty to those seeking refuge within its borders. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as one can clearly see after spending just a few hours at Berlin’s Tempelhof Refugee Shelter.
The noble efforts of the Scott sisters are effective at showcasing the resilience and hope of these four individuals who have experienced such unimaginable hardships. As this compassionate humanitarian documentary shows, it’s a testament to the human spirit how people can survive through the chaos of an unexpected civil war that rips through their beloved homeland.
Lost in Lebanon is released in selected cinemas on 19th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for Lost in Lebanon here: