Entertainment & Arts

Maroun Baghadadi

[ Biography ]

Maroun Baghadadi Maroun BAGHDADI’s life was mixed between cinema and war. He was the son of the generation of disappointment and dreams which made the myth of Beirut and discovered the destruction of myths in the middle of wars and madness and fractures.

Baghdadi’scamera was the closest to record those days, and his life was a mirror of the university generation in the sixties, which was engaged in the adventure of change and knew the tragedies.

Maroun BAGHDADI was born in 1950 in Beirut he studied at “Frere” school Jimayzeh.

He studied law and political science at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, during his study period he joined student’s work which was one of the axes of Lebanese political life at that point, and began his relationship with Lebanese Left Party.
At the University the new Left Party was born between the student’s movement and with strong connection with the Palestinian resistance. During his studying period he worked in the Lebanese press, and wrote a number of reports in “Le Jour” and then in “L’orientle Jour” his first article was “The Lebanese Youth deviation”.

After graduating from the University of Saint Joseph, he traveled to France and attended the Sorbonne University in Paris for his postgraduate studies in political science, but then he left political science and turned to study cinema at the Institute for High Film Studies in Paris.

He returned to Lebanon in 1973 and worked in Lebanon TV and produced with Fouad NAIM series "Seven and a half", which provided short reportages about daily life in Lebanon.

He released his first movie “Beirut ya Beirut” during the civil war in 1975.

During the war he produced a great number of short documentary movies offered a record of the civil war in its various stages. He accomplished his second movie “Horob saghira” in Beirut 1981 when Beirut was sieged and collapsed in 1982.
It was the last novelistic movie produced in Beirut before he returned in 1993 to work on “Zawaya” movie, where he died in the darkness of his house stairs.

BAGHDADI left Beirut in 1984 to settle in Paris, where he accomplished six novelistic movies, three of them were TV movies. Married to Souraya KHOURY and have three children: Sharif, Nayla and Kamal who was born a few days after his father’s death. He died in Beirut on 10 December 1993 when he was preparing to start his movie “Zawaya”.

Picture 1 1975 Beirut Oh Beirut

Duration: 110 min / 35mm, color
Original language: Arabic
(sous-titres en Français et en Anglais)

Synopsis:Beirut Oh Beirut has been done as a graduation film; it’s Maroun Bagdadi's first feature, set against the backdrop of events between the first Israeli raid on Lebanese territories in 1968, and the death of Egyptian president Abdel-Nasser in 1970. The movie was screened on the eve of Lebanon’s civil war and appears to prophesize the looming conflict. It reconstructs the emergence of militant and resistance movements through the lives of individuals from different social and confessional backgrounds. It is both an impossible love story an account of a country on the verge of war.

Directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Written by Maroun Bagdadi, Osama al-Aref, Paul Shaoul
Cast: Izzat al-Alayli, Mireille Maalouf, Philippe Aqiqi, Joseph Bou Nassar, Ahmad al-Zein
Cinematography: Roby BreidiMusic: Walid Gholmiyeh
Editing: Najah Kayouf , Nadia Kayouf
Picture 1 1987 Lebanon,
the Land of Honey and Incense


Duration: 87 min / 35mm, color
Original language: Arabic
Subtitles: English & French
Synopsis:Doctor Fournier arrives in Beirut as the civil war is raging.
He finds himself with a colleague working in a hospital controlled by a Shiite militia and treating the injured. Driven by his doctor’s oath, he crosses the demarcation line to treat Christian casualties of the ongoing clashes. This causes Muslims in his neighborhood to brand him a traitor.
He is kidnapped to be exchanged for a fighter captured by Christian militiamen. The film is part of the TV series *Médecins des hommes *(*Doctors of men*). It was considered the best movie in the series.

Directed and written by Maroun Bagdadi
Production: Cinéma 7, Télé-Hachette.
Dialogues: Didier Decoin
Cast: Robin Renucci, Richard Bohringer, Rafic Najm, Rafic Ali Ahmed, Hussein Sbeiti, Zouhair Chaoui
Cinematography: Georges Arvanitis
Film editing: Luc Barnier
Picture 1 1978 The Most Beautiful of All Mothers

Duration:29 min / 16mm, color
Original language: Arabic
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)

Synopsis:This film is inspired by a song by Marcel Khalifeh based on a poem by Hassan Al Abdallah. Its starting point is a martyr of the Communist Action Organization (part of Lebanon’s National Front) and his mother’s pain. It draws an intimate portrait of young idealists who dreamed of establishing a republic based on justice and egalitarianism in the first chapter of the civil war.

Directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Participation: Fawwaz Trapoulsi
Producer: The Communist Action Organization in Lebanon
Cinematography: Hassan Naamani
Music & Songs: Marcel Khalifeh
Picture 1 1980 Whispers

Duration: 93 min / 16mm, color
Original language: Arabic
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)
Synopsis:Whispers follows the Lebanese poet Nadia Tueni (1935-1983) on a journey across different regions of war-torn Lebanon. The film depicts the fall of a country struggling to survive and find hope. At every station, between sites filled with poetry and nostalgia for a bygone era, the poet’s dashed dreams and idealized vision of her country coincide with the director’s own.

Written and directed by Maroun BagdadiProducer: Nadia Tueni Foundation. With: Nadia Tuéni, Nabil Ismail Cinematography: Hassan Naamani Film editing: Joelle Hash
Picture 1 1984 War on War

Duration: 27 min
Synopsis: The camera wanders through streets standing witness to a war that has destroyed a city and an entire nation. Bagdadi goes to war against the Lebanese civil war, exploring different locations and situations in a country faced with its own demise. The poetic text raises questions of life and death through contrasting images of violent death and the will to live.
Picture 1 1981 Ashoura

Duration: 22 min
Synopsis: Bagdadi visits the southernmost town of Nabatiyeh to capture the beating pulse of the Ashoura celebrations as the faithful commemorate a chapter of their collective memory. He retraces the details of a story through those that identify with it year after year, analyzing history to understand its present-day influences.
Picture 1 1978 The Story of a Village and a War

Duration: 24 min / 16 mm, color
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)
Synopsis:This film documents the 1978 Israeli invasion of Lebanon through the experiences of Lebanese villagers and their daily sufferings under the occupation. The film was shown at the United Nations upon the request of Lebanon’s representative Ghassan Tueini. Its screening was a major influence in the issuance of resolution 425, concerning the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from Lebanon.
Directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Producer: United Nations
Cinematography: Hassan Naamani
Film editing: Karim Sahrawi, Barbara Rousseau
Music & Songs: Marcel Khalifeh
Narrator: Lucien Ricard
Picture 1 1981 Little Wars

Duration: 110min / 35 mm , color
Original language: Arabic
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)
Synopsis:On the eve of the Lebanese civil war in 1974, three characters’ little stories intertwine to make up the plot of Little Wars. Talal, son of a feudal lordm, who reluctantly steps into the shoes of a war chief after his father. His love interest Souraya, tries to support him and helps him kidnap a businessman. Finally, Nabil is a photojournalist posing as a hero when all he really does is use the conflict to trade drugs.

Written, produced and directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Dialogues: Kamal Kassar
Cast: Souraya Khoury, Nabil Ismail, Roger Hawa, Rifaat Tarabay, Rida Khoury, Issam Hajj Ali, Sleiman Al Basha, Ghazi Mroue
Cinematography: Edward Lachman, Heiner Hölscher
Music: Gabriel Yared
Film editing: Joelle Van Effentere
Picture 1 1991 Out of Life

Duration: 94min / 35mm, color
Original language: Arabic & French
Languages: Arabic and French (English and French subtitles)
Synopsis:Out of Life tells the gripping story of a French journalist taken hostage in war torn Beirut. As the man’s captivity period stretches, his dignity and moral fiber erode slowly but surely. The film is based on the real-life experience of Roger Auque who was abducted in Beirut on the 13th of January 1987, and then released by the ‘Organization for Revolutionary Justice’ on the 27th of November 1987.

Directed by Maroun Bagdadi Screenplay: Didier Decoin, Elias Khoury
Producer: Galatée Films
Cast: Hippolyte Girardot, Rafik Ali Ahmed, Hussein Sbeity, Nabila Zeitouni, Hassan Zbib, Hassan Farhat, Majdi Mashmoushi, Habib Hammoud, Hamza Nasrallah, Sami Hawwat.
Cinematography: Patrick Blossier
Music: Nicola Piovani
Film editing: Luc Barnier
Picture 1 1977 A Tribute to Kamal Jumblatt

Duration: 57 min, 16 mm, color
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)

Synopsis: A transparent look at the life of historic leader Kamal Jumblatt (1917-1977) in a film filled with emotion. This documentary was filmed on the occasion of the commemoration of Jumblatt’s death held at the UNESCO Palace. It is an account of the man’s life in the public and political spheres that helps cement his place in his country’s collective memory.
Directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Producer: The Lebanese National Movement
Cinematography: Hassan Naamani
Music & Songs: Marcel Khalifeh
Picture 1 1979 We Are All for the Fatherland

Duration:74 min / 16mm, color
Original language: Arabic
Languages: Arabic (English and French subtitles)

Synopsis:This film gives an account of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon through meetings and interviews with common people and leading personalities from the south of the country. In a satirical twist, We Are All for the Fatherland, mixes footage of the war and its ravages with cut scenes of young children trying to sing the Lebanese national anthem amidst armed conflict, military strategies and speeches.

Directed by Maroun Bagdadi
Participation: Hassan Daoud
Producer: The Lebanese National Movement
Cinematography: Hassan Naamani
Music & Songs: Marcel Khalifeh
Film editing: Barbara Rousseau