Encounters on an Uncertain Spring

Rencontres d’un printemps incertain

LEBANON, PORTUGAL, HUNGARY / 2022 / French / Color / DCP / 25 min

- Director, Editing: Taymour Boulos
Photography: Nicolas Bouchez, Taymour Boulos
Sound: Jen Tarnate, Nicolas Bouchez, Taymour Boulos, Zoë Seuret
Production: Doc Nomads Joint Masters Degree
Source: Taymour Boulos

While studying abroad in Portugal, young Taymour seeks medication for his father in Lebanon who has been diagnosed with cancer. As if summoned by the spring sunshine, he obtains a used video camera and departs on a short trip, encountering fishermen at the port, marchers in a protest, the owner of a small coffee roastery, a Chilean dancer, a priest, and a planetarium curator. He has thoughts of his father during a brief slumber. The words of people he meets in his wandering—various philosophies of their daily lives—come across with warmth even through their masks. (OM)

[Director’s Statement] I have often experienced the unsettling impression that everything is uncertain. While living in Portugal, witnessing the socio-economic collapse of Lebanon from afar only accentuated this feeling. This sense of uncertainty was probably felt by many people during the pandemic.

Back in 2021, after my father was diagnosed with cancer, I started looking for his medicine in Lisbon, since it wasn’t available in Beirut. I realized at the same time that, unlike me, he had always been able to deal with life’s uncertainties with some sort of serenity, without losing touch of the simple pleasures of life. It was through his perspective and his taste for human exchanges that I approached my encounters. The word “Uncertainty” soon imposed itself as the core of a filmic exploration, and the medicine, metaphorically, crystalized into some sort of secret antidote to this feeling. It came as an urge to film and question people about this subject: filming myself aside them was a way to infuse more harmony and serenity into my perception of reality.

This film was built as a multilinear story, of multiple voices. Its narrative structure was conceived to embrace the unknown. Heterogeneity was a priority over unity and freedom over control. The portraits of the people I met draw a series of concentric circles revolving around the core idea of the film. At the same time, each one of them can be seen as a singular window to the world. I wanted my approach to the subject of uncertainty to be intuitive, playful, and organic. Happily enough, my deambulations in the city of Lisbon allowed joyful accidents to occur.

There are many possible ways to deal with situations of crisis, and this film is a way to honor my father’s.

- Taymour Boulos

A filmmaker based in Beirut. He studied film directing at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. He also holds a joint masters degree in Documentary Filmmaking from Doc Nomads and is an Erasmus Mundus merit scholar. Taymour’s film Sounds of Weariness (2021) received the Fernando Lopes Award (Midas Filmes and Doclisboa Award) for Best Portuguese First Film, the Silver Eye Award at Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival as well as the award for best short documentary at Breedbeeld Short Film Festival. Other works include Anything Can Happen Now (2019), A Package and a Crane (2020), and It’s Just Another Dragon (2021, YIDFF 2021). He currently teaches at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts.