Q&A with Abbas Fahdel on Oct. 11

Iraqi-French filmmaker Abbas Fahdel, whose Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) (NYFF53) captured everyday experiences of his homeland’s citizens in the years before and after the U.S. invasion, has returned with another extraordinary, expansive cinematic vision combining images of mundane observation with social and political upheaval. Filmed over more than two years, Tales of the Purple House centers on the experiences of Nour Balllouk, a Lebanese artist living in the house she shares with Fahdel (her husband, who stays off-screen) in the dramatic mountainous countryside outside of Beirut. As she works on her latest paintings, communes with stray cats, and bonds with Syrian refugee neighbors, the nation struggles with turmoil, from the breakout of the COVID pandemic to citizens protesting the corruption of the political elite to ongoing violent attacks from neighboring Israel; meanwhile, the vibrant beauty of their home and its surroundings provides solace and regeneration. With the simplest of brushstrokes, Fahdel’s meditative film captures the creation of art amidst pain, the ongoing hope for revolution, and the struggle to live in the present while constantly bearing witness to the past.

Special thanks to Villa Albertine.

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