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On Wednesday July 11, Metropolis, the first art-house Cinema in Beirut, opened its doors with the 45th edition of the International Critics’ Week – Cannes 2006. This 110-seats cinema took off with major plans for this year such as hosting 2 festivals (an Arab and a European film festival), a workshop on archiving and film restoration, and a retrospective of Sokurov’s work.

Just three days later, Metropolis was forced shut its doors as war was declared on Lebanon and our country was been devastated. Today it houses about 60 people from Beirut’s southern suburbs and from South Lebanon hiding inside the theatre which is two floors underground.

However, after one week of hesitation we decided to re open the cinema despite the circumstances and the newly lodged residents.... Along with the Critics’ Week selection and other 35mm prints that we managed to bring to Beirut, we have curated a special program for refugee kids who live in the cinema and the neighboring area.

For the past 3 weeks, 100 kids attended daily screenings of animation, shorts and documentary films in the presence of the directors whenever it’s possible. A drawing and theatre-acting workshop is also organized in parallel to the screenings in collaboration with Al Madina Theatre, several cultural associations, and many independent artists. (Last week they produced a show entitled ‘Laughter under bombs’ which had 2 representations and an audience of 1000 kids from all over Beirut).

Inside the theatre, everybody volunteers to keep the space clean, to provide food and medical assistance to the refugees and to keep those children away from the horrific rising casualties’ count of innocent people dying daily, victims of wrath of this aggression. For us, it has become yet another day at work… more importantly, another way of resisting.

But we are facing today major problems, more particularly electric supply, which day after day is threatening yet again the closing of Metropolis. Shortage of Fuel has made it either not available or very expensive and due to the continued shut down of our electrical plants, we rely heavily on generators for power… facing the loss of all our sponsors and promised grants, and since funding for cultural endeavors is currently non-existing in Lebanon, we are desperate for financial aid to cover the rising costs of fuel for the coming three months. These costs could reach 15,000 USD.

Many people wrote to us asking what could be done to support this project and to keep Metropolis a space of culture, of refuge, a space which puts a smile on children’s faces…

Whoever wishes to help please write to:

Thanking you in advance.


Hania Mroue
Metropolis Cinema
Mobile: +961 (0)3760906
by smacks | 2006-08-10 23:41 | ■TIF07-レバノン
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