Ghassan Halwani lives and works in Beirut. After the short-animated film Jibraltar(2005), he was mainly involved in collaborations with Lebanese and Arab filmmakers, playwrights, contemporary artists, publishers, and musicians.
Erased, Ascent of the Invisible(2018) is his first feature film.
Besides his artistic engagement, his work focuses on the public and political spheres. He is currently contributing to the creation of a national archive dedicated to enforced disappearances in Lebanon.
Erased, —Ascent of the Invisible (2018)
Film, in arabic, 76 min
Erased,__ Ascent of the Invisible (2018)
It begins with a disappearance 35 years in the past. In fact, it begins even before that, during a civil war that has ended but whose impact — and absences — continue to be felt. Erased,____ Ascent of the Invisible embraces this layered sense of history's continual unspooling into the present.
Ascent of the Invisible is an evocative examination of the thousands of people who were disappeared during Lebanon's 15-year conflict. Diving into this politically loaded and personally resonant topic, the film scrapes away — at times, quite literally — layers of Lebanese history and rethinks the topography of modern-day Beirut.
Though the disappeared were erased — their bodies remaining unfound and unrecovered decades later — their presence lingers. As the film explores, the dead remain in the memory of loved ones, beneath the sidewalks of gentrified neighborhoods, in the very fabric of society.
The film employs multiple mediums, including photography, voiceover, onscreen text, and animation. The result is a rumination on how violent acts — crimes against humanity — play into notions of martyrdom, shape national narratives, and pose questions about the very right, in being killed, to die.
Kiva Reardon (Toronto International Film Festival)