by Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
Country: Lebanon
Year: 2003
Duration: 26'

Nabil returns to Beirut with the ashes of his father who died abroad. He tries to overcome his bereavement while his family insists on respecting rites and customs by burying a non-existent corpse…


film director

Joana Hadjithomas Khalil Joreige

(Beirut, Lebanon, 1969) directed films presented and awarded at various international film festivals. Their works have been exhibited in galleries and museums. With the latest feature Memory Box (2021) they participated in competition at the Berlinale, while with their debut film A Perfect Day (2005) they won the Fipresci award in Locarno and with the subsequent Je veux voir (2008) they participated at the Certain Regard section in Cannes. Their documentary The Lebanese Rocket Society: The Strange Tale of The Lebanese Space Race (2012) won first prize at the Doha Tribeca Festival. Several retrospectives of their films have been presented in institutions such as Cinematek in Brussels, the Lincoln Center, the MoMA and the Flaherty Seminar in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Paris Cinéma, the Institut Français and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Harvard Film Archive, the Locarno, Nyon and Gijon festivals, while in 2017 their installation On Unconformities was awarded the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize. Their artworks are part of major private and public collections including British Museum, Center Pompidou, Fond national d'art contemporain, MCA Chicago, Solomon R. Guggenheim and Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Hadjithomas and Joreige are the authors of numerous publications namely The Rumors of The World: Rethinking Trust in the Age of the Internet (2015) e Two Suns in a Sunset (2016). They are often invited as university lecturers in Lebanon and Europe. Both artists are co-founders of the production company Abbout Productions with Georges Schoucair, as well as executive members of Metropolis Art Cinema and the Cinemathèque in Beirut.


Al Bayt al Zaher (Around the Pink House, doc, 1999), Khiam (doc, mm, 2000), Barmeh (Rounds, cm, 2001), Al Film Al Mafkoud (The Lost Film, doc, mm, 2003), Ramad (Ashes, cm, 2003), Yawmoun akhar (A Perfect Day, 2005), Open the Door, Please (ep. del film Enfances, cm, 2006), Khiam 2000-2007 (doc, 2008), Je veux voir (2008), The Lebanese Rocket Society, The Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race (doc, 2012), Ismyrna (doc, mm, 2016), Memory Box (2021).


film director

Ashes is based on a personal experience, the loss of a very dear person, the days of condolences, the uninterrupted flow of people who came to express their sympathy and sorrow. The character of the film, Nabil cannot mourn his father as he would like to, he is compelled to go through these traditional mourning rites which often seem more like social gatherings. Nabil’s father had asked for his ashes to be scattered over the sea, close to the Raouché Rock from which he had jumped in his youth. But civil status, in Lebanon, is governed by religious laws which rejects cremation. Therefore, Nabil has to face a family (and society at large) which hardly admits such liberties, and would rather create a sham corpse to keep up appearances. What unfolds, therefore, is a certain oddity, two manners of disposing of the dead. Nabil is torn between his promise to this father and his love for the family, which the latter uses to exert pressure on him and make him feel guilty.”


& Credits

DIRECTORS: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige. SCREENPLAY: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige, Rabih Mroué. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jeanne Lapoirie. FILM EDITING: Tina Baz Legal. MUSIC: Soap Kills, Zeid Hamdan, Yasmine Hamdan. SOUND: Raphael Sohier. CAST: Rabih Mroué, Nada Haddad, Neemat Salamé, Georges Hayeck, Ali Cherri, Nadine Labaki, Caroline Labaki, Tanios Seif, Marc Mourani, Hoda Kassar, Marwa Khalil. PRODUCTION: Mille et une Productions, Abbout Productions