This Little Father Obsession
LEBANON / 2016 / Arabic, French / Color, B&W / Blu-ray / 103 min
Director, Script: Selim Mourad
Photography: Bachir Hajj, Jad Tannous, Selim Mourad
Editing: Carine Doumit, Selim Mourad
Sound: Lama Sawaya
Narration: Carole Abboud, Selim Mourad
Producer: Jana Wehbé
Production Company, Source: c.cam production
A house built by the director’s grandfather that even survived the Lebanese Civil War will be demolished. The director—an only child—is gay, thus the family line will end with him. We watch what unfolds as Selim visits his father’s estranged younger brother. In this autofiction documentary, Selim, unable to inherit either his house or sustain the family line, uses beauty and humor to challenge his father, his family, and the patriarchal system bound up in tradition and religion—in order to find his own place in the world.
[Director’s Statement] When my grandfather first built our building, it was one floor only. Maybe the idea was that every generation would add a floor. I would build the third floor, and my son the fourth. After one hundred years, we would have worried about where to go, but logically, by then the downstairs floors would have been long empty. There is no danger of unlimited growth in the Mourad family: we have been moderate with our kids’ ratios for ages: one or two children maximum. However, the situation got trickier than usual with me being both the last male descendant, and attracted to men. As my father realized the family might just be coming to an end, my aunt got involved and convinced him to sell the building, so that they could benefit a bit from it in their old age. My father agreed because he did not feel like dying in the same house he was born in, and he signed up a 10-floor tower project.
How can I stand through the responsibility of the extinction of my family? Is there a way to question it, explore its limits and if yes, transcend it towards an individual destiny/the right to exist by myself?
Mourad obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Studies and his Master’s degree in filmmaking from the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut (IESAV). His filmography includes short documentaries such as the award-winning Letter to My Sister (2008), and A Trip To The Barbershop (2010, YIDFF 2011). Next, he started making medium-length films that include: + (2010), Pouldreuzic (2011) and La Demolition (2011) and X: La Conception (2012), where he turns his personal and everyday life into fiction. Selim currently teaches documentary filmmaking in a number of Lebanese schools. This Little Father Obsession is his first feature film. It premiered at Visions du Réel 2016, travelled to various international festivals and was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Les Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage 2016.