Lebanese director Wissam Sharaf became the first Arab director to win Europa Cinemas Prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
During the conclusion of the Giornate degli Autori competition at the 79th edition of the Venice International Film Festival, Lebanese film Dirty Difficult Dangerous, by French-Lebanese director Wissam Charaf, won the 2022 Europa Cinemas Label award. Along with the prize, Dirty Difficult Dangerous will receive promotional support from Europa Cinemas Label, an association of art house cinema exhibitors from across Europe, in its theatrical rollout.
Europa Cinemas network was founded in 1992 by a group of 30 European movie theaters. Currently, the network has expanded to include more than 3,000 screens across 739 cities in 42 countries around the world. Since 2010, the network has presented its award at the Giornate degli Autori Competition. Wissam Charaf is the first Arab director to receive this award. The network’s jury added in its merits: “The film tackles many tragic events that we all confront – be it war, refugees, trafficking – but Charaf comes up with a love story that has strong fairy tale elements. There is a touch of kindness here – a sense of relief from all the usual lecturing as well as some dark comic moments. The film will give audiences a real sense of hope born from courage, and we feel strongly that it will appeal well beyond arthouse audiences across Europe.”
Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous was the opening film of the 19th edition of the Giornate degli Autori Competition.
Immediately after its screening, the Lebanese critic Hovic Havisham wrote: “Charaf took a different look at Lebanese reality and according to his assessment of it. A look that has never been in this form in Lebanese cinema.” Also, Fabien Lemercier wrote on Cineuropa website stating, “Lend charm and a fablesque air to a work which prioritizes restrained simplicity and unpretentious freshness in a complicated quest for freedom.”
Roaming the streets of Beirut searching for metal objects to be recycled, Ahmed, a Syrian refugee, thought he’d find love with Mehdia, an Ethiopian domestic. But in this city, such a story seems almost impossible. Will this couple be able to find the way to freedom given that Ahmed suffers a mysterious illness that slowly turns his body into metal?
Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous was supported by CNC, Corsica Region, Doha Film Institute, Red Sea Fund, Italy’s Ministry of Culture, Fonds Image de la Francophonie and MEDIA. It was awarded a full promotion package from the Red Sea International Film Festival, received the Award of the French Institute in Tunisia from Carthage Pro Professional platform, the Arte prize in Busan Film Festival and the CNC award in Dubai Film Connection.
Directed by Wissam Charaf who co-wrote it with Hala Dabaji, Mariette Désert, the film stars Clara Couturet, Ziad Jallad, Rifaat Tarabay and Darina Al Joundi. It is produced by Aurora Films, Né à Beyrouth Films and Intramovies. MAD Solutions manages the film’s distribution in the Arab world, while JHR Films manages the distribution in France and Intramovies manages the international sales.
Wissam Charaf is a Lebanese/French director, cameraman and editor. In 1998, he began to work with the French/German network ARTE, as a news cameraman, editor and journalist. He has since covered major conflict areas ranging from Lebanon to Darfour, Afghanistan, or North Korea. He worked in programs like ARTE Info, ARTE Reportages, Metropolis and Tracks.
He directed six short fiction films: Hizz Ya Wizz, A Hero Never Dies, An Army of Ants, After (awarded in Pantin, Brive), Unforgettable Memory of a Friend (awarded in Pantin, Clermont-Ferrand, Rhode Island and pre-selected for Best short film in the Cesar 2020) and Don’t panic (Clermont-Ferrand), as well as It’s All in Lebanon, a documentary awarded in Carthage Festival. His first feature film, Heaven Sent, was selected for the ACID section of the 2016 Cannes Festival.