The Ugly One

Joseph del Pesco is curator at Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco

With the war-torn Beirut cityscape as its backdrop-urban alleys, glistening beaches, abandoned buildings-Eric Baudelaire's complex film unfolds in a time and place that vacillates among revolutionary narratives of the past, the fragile and ever-changing political situation of the present, and attempts to piece together the memories of those that live, or once lived, in the city. Conceived as a sequel to his documentary The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images (2011), Baudelaire builds the structure of the film around a story told by Adachi, who also narrates the film. The plot line pivots around two lovers and former resistance fighters, Michel (played by Lebanese artist and actor Rabih Mroué) and Lili (Juliette Navis); their narratives fragment and reconfigure around the screenplay, which itself intertwines with Adachi's own history, the act of making the film, and the self-conscious and sometimes improvisatory process of writing the script. 

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