Memory Box in competition at the Berlinale

Memory Box by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige will have its world premiere in the official competition of the 71st edition of the Berlin International Film Festival.

This will be the first time since Beirut the Encounter (1982) by Borhane Alaouié that a Lebanese film is selected in the official competition at the Berlinale.

Starring Rim Turk, Manal Issa, Paloma Vauthier, Clémence Sabbagh, Hassan Akil, Memory Box is inspired by true events.

Maia lives in Montreal with her teenage daughter Alex. On Christmas Eve, Maia receives a box containing the journals, tapes and photos that she had entrusted to her best friend when she left Lebanon. She refuses to open this Pandora’s box but Alex, who is stuck at home due to a snowstorm, cannot resist the temptation to secretly go through the box of her mother’s memories. In doing so, she unveils a troubled adolescence spent in wartime Beirut. Memory Box is Joana Hadjithomas’ and Khalil Joreige’s most accomplished work to date. For years, these two artists and filmmakers have been questioning the role of memory in creating images and writing contemporary history. The pair has always shown an interest in the emotional processes associated with the trauma of war, but this time they have decided to put themselves on the line. Joana’s own journals and tapes from 1982 to 1988 and Khalil’s wartime photographs form the archive around which they build the story of Maia and Alex. Theirs is a narrative in which Alex’s experience of the aesthetics of social media is in conversation with the physical presence of images of her mother’s youth. This conversation engenders a unique and touching film which gives shape to personal visions and depictions.