Au retour des marées, 2012

47' / Arabic with English subtitles
A film by Chaghig Arzoumanian
Cast : Oumama Hamido, Ghassan Bazzoun
Cinematography : Koussay Hamzeh
Sound : Rawad Hobeika, Karine Basha, Sandra Tabet
Assistant Director: Ghalas Charara

Au retour des marées is a film loosely centered on a young girl returned to Beirut from the United States for a death in her family. The camera follows the girl move between one space and another—her home, the street, unfinished or demolished buildings and empty lots. The film pictures a soft yet relentless displacement of emotion and expectation across the space of the city.


Did you set out to make a portrait of the City? If not, what did you set out to make a portrait of?

The desire to make this film started with a memory that hit me a day while I was day dreaming in my room in Paris. We are at the end of the Lebanese civil war, my mother took us my brothers and I for the first time to the down town of Beirut. I remember the blinding light of the Martyr's square and those archeologists excavating little vases. I remember running towards the street juice seller like a crazy when I fell and cut my palm that started to bleed; shiny red blood. Later, I thought that this wound represented the new destiny line between me and Beirut. The film draws a personal map of these kinds of ramblings, memories and perceptions.

How would you describe the way the film pictures death? Why did you chose to show it as something so still?

The death of the mother is in the first place the event that brings Youmna back to her city. The death also enhance the feeling of estrangement. She doesn't even share the Armenian language and culture of her mother. Regarding your second question about stillness, I don't really have a rational answer. What I can say is that during all the process of the film I had constantly in mind the funeral of my grand mother where I remember having one of my first mystic experiences.

Who/what does she love? The woman in the film?

The woman in the film returns to Beirut after many years of absence. Her return wasn't meant, she came to bury her mother. A walk at dawn leads her deep into the city which on its turn leads her to Abdallah, her past lover. But the gap of time, space and experience make this encounter impossible, or elsewhere…

Chaghig Arzoumanian is a Lebanese filmmaker, editor and photographer. She was born in Beirut in 1988 and currently works between Marseille, Paris and Beirut. She graduated from the University of Paris VIII holding a double master degree in film direction and in valorization of film heritage and was formed to film restoration at the Portuguese film archive laboratory (ANIM). She directed several short movies and a medium length one, Au retour des marées. Geographies, her first feature film premiered in March 2016 at the 37th edition of Festival Cinéma du Réel in Paris. She co-edited Obscure by filmmaker Soudade Kaadan (2016) and E-muet by Corine Shawi (2013) that premiered at the festival FID Marseille. Chaghig showed her photography projects “Witches” and “The hidden place” at the Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut respectively in 2016 and 2013. Nowadays she's working on a photography book about the old Lebanese mental asylum, Asfourieh.