Open main menu

Georges Nasser (Arabic: جورج نصر‎‎; 15 June 1927[1] – 23 January 2019) was a Lebanese director. He is considered to have been a pioneering figure in Lebanese cinema and is credited with having put Lebanon on global movie-making map.[2]

Georges Nasser
Born(1927-06-15)15 June 1927
Died23 January 2019(2019-01-23) (aged 91)
Occupationfilm director
Years active1957–1975

Early lifeEdit

Nasser was born in Tripoli on 15 June 1927[3], the fifth of 11 children. He attended the School of the Holy Hearts until the age of 7 and then the College of the Brothers of the Holy Family. During his childhood he was a keen fan of film, watching up to eight a week at the cinema.[4] Nasser moved to California to attend UCLA and became one the first Arab filmmakers to obtain a film degree in the United States.[5] Though he had originally intended to study architecture as he was unaware that cinema studies was a subject. At UCLA he met fellow film students George Roy Hill and John Ford.[4]

CareerEdit

After graduating from UCLA in the mid-50s, he returned to Lebanon to direct his first feature, Ila Ayn (1957), which became the first Lebanese film to be featured In Selection at Cannes Film Festival.[6] After sixty years, the film was screened again in its restored print version as part of the Cannes Classics events in 2017,[7] after which Nasser, who is known as the "Father of Lebanese Cinema" received a standing ovation.[8] Although his career was cut short by the Lebanese civil war, he has mentored a new generation of Lebanese filmmakers[2] as an instructor at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts.[9] Nasser also attempted to establish a film-making syndicate in the aftermath of the war.[10] In the 1990s he began a project to create a film of the life of Egyptian actress Faten Hamama entitled Lee Ouyon al-Nas but it was never completed.[10] In his late career he completed several short films for the Lebanese Army.[10] He died on 23 January 2019, aged 91 and was buried at the St. Maroun Church in Tripoli on 24 January.[11][10][12]

FilmographyEdit

Il Ayn? (1957)Edit

The film known in French as Vers L'Inconnu, was a mix of melodrama and Italian neo-realism,[5] and cowritten with Halim Fares and Youssef Habchi Achkar.[13] The film examines poetically the themes of exile and emigration.[14] It tells the story of a family from an obscure village in Mount Lebanon. Because the family is struggling, the father decides, like most men in the Levant at the time, to immigrate to Brazil, leaving his wife to raise the children, but he’s never heard from again. Nasser made the film at a time when Lebanon had a fledgling film industry, and so his cast was completely nonprofessional.[13] q digital restoration of the original 35mm film was completed in time for its 60th anniversary.[10] In addition to screening again at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Cannes Classics series, the restored copy of the film was screened in Lebanon at the Metropolis Empire Sofil in Achrafieh in January 2018.[15]

The Small Stranger (1962)Edit

His second feature, The Small Stranger (or Le Petit Étranger) was also selected for Cannes in 1962.[2] The French-language film was a coming of age story about a young country boy who moves to the city and gets seduced by it.[9]

Only One Man Wanted (1975)Edit

Nasser's third feature was produced by the National Film Organization and partially shot in Syria[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.elcinema.com/en/person/1072197/
  2. ^ a b c "Legendary Lebanese Filmmaker Now Focuses on Students". 20 September 2017.
  3. ^ https://www.khoolood.com/obituaries/37570/George-Nasser
  4. ^ a b "Clap de fin pour Georges Nasser, passeur d'images". L'Orient de Jour. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Georges Nasser: The return of Lebanon's first great film luminary". Middle East Eye.
  6. ^ Ham, Anthony. Middle East, page 411
  7. ^ Malinjod, Eugénie (25 May 2017). "Georges Nasser, the grandfather of Lebanese cinema and director of Ila Ayn?". Festival de Cannes 2019.
  8. ^ Al-awsat, Asharq. "Middle-east Arab News Opinion". eng-archive.aawsat.com.
  9. ^ a b "Georges Nasser: The return of Lebanon's first great film luminary". Middle East Eye.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Pioneering Lebanese filmmaker Georges Nasser dies at age 92". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Pioneering Lebanese filmmaker Georges Nasser dies at 91". The National.
  12. ^ "Cannes Celebrity Lebanese Director Georges Nasser Dies at 91". www.albawaba.com. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b "A migration tale restored for now | Arts & Ent , Culture | THE DAILY STAR". www.dailystar.com.lb.
  14. ^ "FLC Fundraising Event – Screening Ila Ayn by Georges Nasser".
  15. ^ "An opportunity to (re)discover Georges Nasser's film that was selected in Cannes official competition in 1957 The restored copy of ILA AYN? and a documentary on the filmmaker will screen from January 4 to 10, 2018 at Metropolis Cinema".
  16. ^ "60th Anniversary of 'Ila Ayn?'", Abbout Productions & Fondation Liban Cinema, 2017, page 7