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Jocelyne Saab (30 April 1948 – 7 January 2019) was a journalist and film director from Lebanon. She is recognized as one of the pioneers of Lebanese cinema[1] and "one of the country's most daring filmmakers".[2] A reporter, photographer, scriptwriter, producer, director, artist and founder of the Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon, Saab has placed her entire artistic career at the service of the deprived and disadvantaged – from displaced peoples to exiled fighters, cities at war and a Fourth World without a voice. Her work is grounded in historic violence, and in an awareness of the actions and images required to document, reflect on and counteract it.[3]

Jocelyne Saab
Jocelyne saab.jpg
Jocelyne Saab during Vesoul International Asian film festival, 2009.
Born(1948-04-30)30 April 1948
Died7 January 2019(2019-01-07) (aged 70)
OccupationFilm director, Journalist
Notable work
A Suspended Life, Once Upon a Time:Beirut, Dunia



Saab was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She finished her studies of economics in the 1970s and began to work for television here and there. Her first job was hosting a pop music program on the national Lebanese radio station called "Marsipulami got blue eyes." She then became a television newsreader. She was also a war correspondent in Egypt and South Lebanon. She went to Libya in 1971, covered the October War in 1973. In 1975, she worked as a reporter for French television[4].

Once the Lebanese Civil War broke out, Saab started working on documentary films.[5] Her first documentary was called "Lebanon in Turmoil". After two years, she began to give her documentaries a more personal perspective. She stopped doing 'classical' documentaries. This marked her turn towards a more personal and essayistic mode of filmmaking as her country was torn apart by conflict[4]. As a curator at Birkbeck, University of London noted: "These beautiful and moving films infuse their powerful documentary footage of daily life amid destruction and displacement with a poetic intensity that transcends the conflict and reaches beyond despair."[6]

After the civil war, Saab continued to make a number of films, in both documentary and fiction.


  • Portrait d'un mercenaire français (1975)
  • Lebanon in a Whirlwind (1975)
  • Les Enfants de la guerre (1976)
  • Sud-Liban – Histoire d'un village (1976)
  • Pour quelques vies (1976)
  • Beyrouth, jamais plus (1976)
  • Égypte, la cite des morts (1978)
  • Lettre de Beyrouth (1979)
  • A Suspended Life (Ghazal el-Banat) (1985)
  • Kanya Ya Ma Kan, Beyrouth (1995)
  • Kiss Me Not on the Eyes (2005)
  • What's Going On, Once Upon A Time: Beirut (2009)


Further readingEdit

  • Dalia Said Mostafa, "Jocelyne Saab: A Lifetime Journey in Search of Freedom and Beauty" in: Josef Gugler (ed.), Ten Arab Filmmakers: Political Dissent and Social Critique, Indiana University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-253-01644-7, pp 34-50


External linksEdit