fbpx Biennale Cinema 2017 | Mazen Khaled - Martyr
La Biennale di Venezia

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Mazen Khaled - Martyr

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  • Sala Pasinetti
  • Admission with coupon to be booked online

Lebanon / 80’
language Arabic
cast Carol Abboud, Hamza Mekdad, Moustafa Fahs, Hady Bou Ayash, Rashad Nasereddine, Raneem Mourad, Rabih el Zahr, Yara Abou Haidar, Selim Mourad
screenplay Mazen Khaled
cinematographer Talal Khoury, Rachelle Noja
editor Vartan Avakian
production designer and costume designer Bshara Atallah
music Zeid Hamdan, Vladimir Kurumilian
sound Victor Bresse
colorist Belal Hibzi



The strange drowning of a young man at Beirut’ seaside sparks a mob funeral and causes his friends, who hail from different communities, to grapple with loss and with the struggle to participate in his community’s rites and ceremonies. The life and death journey that the young man takes on the last day of his life exposes the schisms of the city and the fault lines dividing its society, and reveals some of the forces pushing the lives of those marginalized young men. In Islamic tradition, drowning is considered grounds for Martyrdom. What does that word really mean? Is it an effort to console a bereaved family and preclude its grief? Is it an empty attempt by a marginalized group to evoke heroism and mythology in order to compensate in death for what they never achieved in life? In this film, raw verité images intermingle with abstract scenes of dance and performance to present us with a world, much like ours, where the lines separating reality from fiction, authenticity from fabrication, have ceased to exist.


Beirut has a corniche overlooking a rocky shore. Young men dive from the balustrade to impress onlookers. They come from overcrowded neighborhoods whose streets are plastered with posters of martyrs, where people are drowning in marginality and hopelessness, but most of all, where people have no prospect of ever leaving those neighborhoods. The sea is their liberty, their escape. The corniche is where they brush up against society, but it is also where they turn their naked backs to it, and jump into the vastness of the horizon. The propagandists of war would tell us otherwise, but aren’t the men who died diving the true martyrs, pushed by society to its literal edge?

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema