Lebanese director and actor Nadine Labaki has long been friends with Hollywood superstar Cate Blanchett, with the pair having more than philanthropic endeavors and movie experience in common. So, it was inevitable that the talented duo would join forces for something incredibly powerful, and that’s exactly what they have done creating an impactful film depicting the on going crisis in Lebanon.
The #keeptalkingaboutbeirut film reveals the brutality of the explosion at the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The raw footage edited by Nadine Labaki, in collaboration with Lebanese filmmaker Elie Fahed, was captured by citizens and journalists, and shows the real state of Lebanon’s capital. The film’s script, which is narrated by actor Cate Blanchett, was written by Labaki and political activist Sara El-Yafi.
“This is not another day in the Middle East,” starts Blanchett in a deeply emotional tone before footage of the explosion fills the screen. “This is not a natural disaster,” continues Blanchett, “This is a man-made disaster.”
The explosion in the port killed 190 people, injured more than 6,000, and left hundreds and thousands homeless. “The people of Lebanon deserve the truth,” continues Blanchett. “What happened in Beirut is a crime against all humanity. It concerns me. It concerns you. It concerns all of us. This is not a political battle. This is a moral and ethical battle.”
The film is a reminder to the world of not only what happened in Beirut in August, but also about the on-going battles that continue, and the pressure and pain its people are suffering as a result.
“We all have a role to play to make sure the people of Lebanon are not forgotten,” adds Blanchett. “Keep Lebanon in your discussions. Keep the pressure on. Donate in any way you can to help the people of Lebanon rebuild their homes and their lives.”
Ever since the blast, activist Labaki admits she has been “filming everything” often even posting her footage on social media and asking the the authorities to explain their actions. “Lebanon has always been functioning without a government. That is the only hope I still have of rebuilding the country,” says Labaki.