40:40, orig format DVM, France/Canada, 2001 (1999)
The first installment from the ongoing tape, ‘untitled’. An intimate dialogue that weaves back and forth between representations of a figure (of resistance) and subject with, *Soha Bechara ex-Lebanese National Resistance fighter in her Paris dorm room taped (during the last year of the Israeli occupation) one year after her release from captivity in El-Khiam torture and interrogation centre (S. Lebanon) where she had been detained for 10 years, 6 years in isolation. Revising notions of resistance, survival and will, recounting to death, separation and closeness; the overexposed image and body of a surviving martyr speaking quietly and directly into the camera juxtaposed against her self and image, not speaking of the torture but of the distance between the subject and loss, of what is left behind and what remains.
*Soha Bechara is a heroine in Lebanon, pictures of her are seen in many houses in the South and posters of her were seen all around downtown Beirut when I was working there in the early 90’s. She was captured in 1988 for trying to assassinate the general of the SLA, Antoine Lahad (the South Lebanese Army was a proxy militia set up & controlled by the Israeli forces to give a Lebanese façade to the occupation of South Lebanon). I didn't ask her anything specifically about the torture she underwent or the trauma of detention, she was being interviewed to death by the European and Arab press over the details of her captivity and the minutiae of her surviving it and the conditions in El-Khiam and the detainees and the resistance. I went to her small dorm room, not much bigger than her cell (she is presently studying international law at the Sorbonne), she sat on her bed and I asked her about the distance lived between Khiam and Paris, and Beirut and Paris, and what she left in Khiam and what she brought with her, a story about flowers and how she never puts them in water, how it felt for her now to be under such demand, and who she was, and what the title of the tape should be, and a few other things. This video material that I recorded of the time spent with her is not precious, just time and a conversation, and intense intimacy at a close and unbreachable distance.