Tales of the Purple House

حكايات البيت الأ رجواني

LEBANON, IRAQ, FRANCE / 2022 / Arabic / Color / DCP / 184 min

- Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound Design: Abbas Fahdel
Sound Mixing, Sound Effects: Victor Bresse, Abbas Fahdel
Color Grading: Chrystel Elias
Appearances: Nour Ballouk, Moussa Alhajouz, Rakan Ballouk, Souad Awada
Producers: Abbas Fahdel, Nour Bollouk
Source: Abbas Fahdel

A film in three parts depicting the filmmaker and his wife, a painter, in their purple house in southern Lebanon during two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. We see a quiet life with cats that includes interactions with the neighbor’s immigrant child and daily painting. Scenes of films from such directors as Ozu Yasujiro and Andrei Tarkovsky play out on the living room television. Also recorded are the 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut, anti-government demonstrations, and the outbreak of the Ukrainian war which exacerbated the economic crisis—all of these impact their daily lives. The film probes the subject of life in a crumbling world, and the significance of art existing there. (TS)

[Director’s Statement] Can beauty save the world? Can art save us from reality? This film attempts to answer these questions in an approach that blends the aesthetic and the political, the intimate and the universal, and expresses an ardent faith in the saving power of images as a visual Noah’s Ark for a time of flood.

- Abbas Fahdel

Born in Babylon, Iraq. After studying cinema in France, notably under the direction of Jean Rouch, Eric Rohmer and Serge Daney, he shot three documentaries in Iraq, including the monumental Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) (YIDFF 2015 Award of Excellence), awarded at numerous festivals including Locarno and Visions du Réel. In 2008, he shot his first feature film in Egypt, Dawn of the World. Based in Lebanon since 2017, he shot his second work of fiction there, Yara (2018), which was shown in the international competition at the Locarno Film Festival, followed by the documentary Bitter Bread (2019), which saw its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. This film completes his Lebanese trilogy.