Erased,___ Ascent of the Invisible

2014 on a wall in the city of Beirut are spread layers over layers of hundreds of torn posters. Selling lines and ripped images jump to the eye: apartments, pastries, concerts, loans, restaurants, plumbing, religious tours for the faithful… anything! Suddenly, in the middle of this rubble, a glimpse: the partial picture of a face. Only a moustache, the trace of a shy smile, a chin, and part of an ear. Also noticeable in the photo, the fragments of a black leather jacket. A vagabond with a pencil sets to heal the rest of the face, restoring its missing traits. “The image of a man whose features were convincing took shape in front of me! But who is that man?” On his unsettled journey through Beirut, various encounters and incidents constantly put the vagabond back on track, on the trail of the people gone missing during the Lebanese civil war. But the vagabond faces a city striving by all possible means to erase those traces beyond recovery, to a point of no return.

Ghassan Halwani lives and works in Beirut. After the short-animated film Jibraltar (2005), he was mainly involved in collaborations with Lebanese and Arab filmmakers, playwrights, contemporary artists, publishers, and musicians. Among his contributions: a short animation film closing the feature documentary Lebanese Rocket Society by Khalil Joreige and Joanna Hadjithomas, a long contribution on several plays and installations with Lebanese Playwright and artist Rabih Mroué, Animated music video Takhabot with Palestinian Musician Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. Erased,_Ascent of the Invisible is his second film and first feature. Besides his artistic engagement, his work focuses on the public and political spheres. He is currently contributing to the creation of a national archive dedicated to enforced disappearances in Lebanon. In parallel, he is collaborating on research towards a film about the National Master Plan for the regulation of land and property in Lebanon.