Born in Tripoli in 1927, George Nasr studied cinema at UCLA in Hollywood and returned to his native country with the firm determination to make films in an environment where the industry was non-existent. In 1957 he directed Ila Ayn?, which became the first film to represent Lebanon in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Nasr repeated the same remarkable feat with The Little Stranger, also selected at Cannes in 1962. A period of relentlessness and disillusionment followed. In 1975, Nasr shot his third film Al Matloub Rajol Wahed in Syria. Although the film’s future looked promising, the eruption of the Lebanese civil war put an end to its career.
Unlike the new wave of young Lebanese filmmakers who filmed the war, such as Maroun Bagdadi, Borhane Alawiya, Jocelyne Saab, Randa Chahal and Jean Chamoun, Nasr did not follow suit. Nevertheless, at no point did he consider leaving the country. He worked as a production manager on a few foreign films, such as Volker Schlöndorff’s Circle of Deceit, and continued to write and seek funding opportunities for his screenplays. Unfortunately, time passed and money did not arrive. Nasr began to fight on another front: the creation of a Lebanese union of film technicians, another attempt that proved unsuccessful because of the incompetence of the state and the ministries concerned.
Nasr finally found a satisfactory vocation as a teacher at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA). He taught new generations in the art of making films. At the age of 90, he still has not retired, and his eyes shine when he talks about his great love of cinema.
Georges Nasr passed away in Lebanon on the 23rd of January 2019.