The Valley

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    The Valley

    Al-Wadi

    Directed by

    France, Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

    2014

    128 min

    • Arabic

    Thriller

    Toronto IFF - Contemporary World Cinema

    Wandering aimlessly after losing his memory in a car accident, a man is taken in by the inhabitants of a farm in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, whose secret business is the drugs they manufacture in a laboratory on the closely guarded property. The presence of this nameless stranger has consequences for the clandestine community. Little separates beauty and horror here. A latent sense of danger pervades the vast swathes of sublime landscape. A catastrophe looms. Tensions also rise in the cramped quarters of the house. The identity of the man without a past becomes an increasing issue as doubts regarding his amnesia rear their head. Is he a doctor or a mechanic? An angel or a spy? Like a blank page, he lends himself to fantasies of all kinds and ultimately becomes a prisoner. At once concrete and otherworldly, with a powerful soundtrack and images of great intensity, the film shows a set of melancholy existences on the eve of the apocalypse. Alongside radio news reports on current political crises, it leaves ample room for poetry, painting and a love song, and thus questions the status of art in times of terror and war, that is, in the here and now.

    Awards

    • FIPRESCI Award - Fribourg IFF

    Festivals

    Credits

    Cast
    Carlos Chahine
    Carole Abboud
    Fadi Abi Samra
    Mounzer Baalkabi
    Yumna Marwan
    Aouni Kawas
    Rodrigue Sleiman
    Ahmad Ghossein
    Screenplay
    Ghassan Salhab
    Cinematography
    Bassem Fayad
    Editing
    Michele Tyan
    Music
    Cynthia Zaven
    Sharif Sehnaoui
    Sales
    DOC & FILM INTERNATIONAL
    Production
    ABBOUT PRODUCTIONS
    Production
    LES FILMS D’IC
    Production
    UNAFILM

    Press

    A stark and atmospheric drama.

    Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

    Ghassan Salhab

    Ghassan Salhab

    Lebanon

    Ghassan Salhab (born 1958, Senegal) has directed five feature films: BEYROUTH FANTÔME, TERRA INCOGNITA (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2002), THE LAST MAN, 1958 and THE MOUNTAIN, which have all been selected by prestigious international festivals. Salhab has also directed numerous short films and videos, including: POSTHUMUS; NARCISSE PERDU; MY LIVING BODY, MY DEAD BODY; LA ROSE DE PERSONNE; BAALBECK (co-directed with Akram Zaatari and Mohamad Soueid); AFRIQUE FANTÔME and APRÈS LA MORT. Additionally, he has collaborated on several screenplays and teaches cinema in Lebanon. He has also published works in various magazines. His films have been selected in various international film festivals.

    Selected Filmography