A Night In Beirut, video, Beirut, Lebanon, 2006.

“Sirine Fattouh’s inquisitive eye creates a hulling atmosphere of seemingly ordinary surroundings while constantly raising pressing political and social questions to those who are the least heard and given voice to.
In one of her early videos, A Night in Beirut, the artist follows a man in a white robe, “El Tabbal” [1] , for the first time after years of hearing him but never seeing his face during her childhood spent in Beirut before mov- ing to Paris. Fattouh explains the trigger for this video was to put a face on a voice that was once a terrifying and mystic sound that broke sharply during the nights of the holy month of Ramadan, creating numerous fantasy stories in the minds of young children. The sobriety of treatment in the video hits like a poignant reality; stripped from any aesthetic manipulation, it brings out an eerie space accentuated by the obscurity of the surroundings but also by the abstruseness of the act itself in a place and time marked by “modernization”. Close up shots reveal the artist’s desire to identify and expose this mysterious gure in his hypnotic circular track; the person facing the camera looks like a simple man who’s familiarity with the lmed neighborhood and its inhabitants conveys a nostalgic lens, acting as a documentary that wishes to archive the memory of disappearing rituals and with it the dissipation of recognizable elements of everyday life in a changed city.”

Mayssa Fattouh

[1] El Tabbal is the one who passes in the city streets with a drum to invite the inhabitants to wake-up have breakfast and pray to prepare for a new day of fasting.