Memories from a Beiruti Neighborhood
A Film by Karim Al-Hakim
Videotech [2]
© UMAM D&R, 2009, 32 min

Zokak el-Blat is a Beiruti neighborhood, which first appeared in the 19th century. It is situated between the areas of Raml az-Zarif to its west, el-Bashoura to its east, el-Museytbeh to its south, and the Riad as-Solh Square to its north.

Although the meanings of Zokak (alley) and el-Blat (tile, mansion) are unambiguous, Zokak el-Blat remains confused by its past and present. 
But unlike many of its Beiruti counterparts, which endured strife and underwent significant transformations in their names, Zokak el-Blat stands apart. Whether in speech or symbolically, its name indicates the mix of identities and languages, and essentially the numerous cultures the neighborhood embraced and sheltered.

Naturally, all of these residents left their traces, which are not restricted to architectural elements. Rather, they are evident primarily in the imprint that persists, such as in languages, smells, and nostalgia. There is indeed rhythm to be found in the human migrations that have characterized and shaped this area, and they provide a lens with which to view Lebanon's own successes and failures.

Karim Al-Hakim captures the essence of these migrations through Zokak el-Blat by recording them in the language and narratives of some of its inhabitants. 


Idea: Karim Al-Hakim & Rawane Nassif | Interviews: Karim Al-Hakim | Camera: Rawane Nassif, Rami Kodeih & Maxime Souville | Sound: Sara Francis | Editing: Anne de Mo | Video Postproduction: Mazen Hashem | Audio Postproduction: B-Root Productions | Graphics: Hisham Salam

This DVD was produced with support of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).