Massaker (Massacre)
Sabra and Shatila Through the Eyes of the Perpetrators

مَقْتَلَة صبرا وشاتيلا بعيون مُرْتَكِبيها
By Monika Borgmann, Lokman Slim & Hermann Theissen
© 2005 UMAM Productions
Arabic with English subtitles

In Lebanon, a country that actively ignores its strained past and sometimes even suppresses discussions of what happened, "Massaker" (Massacre) pulled back the curtain on one of the darkest chapters of Lebanon’s civil war—the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Both aesthetically and in terms of content, “Massaker” is a psycho-political study of six perpetrators who participated in the massacre of Sabra and Shatila on orders and on their own personal initiative. The film intertwines the mental dispositions of the killers with their political environment and broaches the phenomenon of collective violence through their accounts.

From 2001-2004, Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim, the co-directors of UMAM D&R, worked on the film "Massaker," giving a voice to the perpetrators for the first time and allowing them to share their experiences with the atrocities of Lebanon’s civil war.

During this time, the filmmakers sought to verify details and check the historical record of events through national archives, however, Lebanon's national archive was inaccessible. The absence of such an open resource center, which would be of immense value given the way Lebanon’s conflict-laden history is often subjected to competing narratives and historical revisionism, motivated a group of friends to found the citizen resource center that is today UMAM D&R.

In 2005, just before UMAM D&R was officially founded, "Massaker" premiered at the Berlinale Filmfestival. In the years since, it has been shown at about 100 film festivals, received several awards, and invoked fierce conversation and debate about a topic many had traditionally chosen to ignore. Unfortunately, it is banned in Lebanon, where the General Security allowed only one screening during the event Civil Violence & War Memories - Here and Elsewhere.

In the Media
May 30, 2008 | Qantara
Sympathy with the Devil
December 14, 2005 | Khaleej Times
The Massaker behind a film
November 4, 2005 | The Guardian
The banality of murder
October 30, 2005 | The Guardian
Militia boasts of role in Sabra massacre
October 1, 2005 | Le Monde Diplomatique
Retour sur Sabra et Chatila
September 29, 2005 | An Nahar
حذار انفعال المشاهدين
February 12, 2005 | Berliner Zeitung
Der eisige Blick aus den Augen von Ariel Sharon