Very Big Shot
Brothers Ziad and Joe run a small but lucrative drug-dealing business out of their takeout pizzeria in one of Beirut's working-class districts. With their youngest brother Jad about to be released from prison — where he was serving a sentence for a crime that Ziad had committed — Ziad and Joe plan to go straight by using their coke-peddling profits to open a restaurant. But Ziad's supplier, a powerful drug lord who is none too keen to see his dealers retire, convinces the brothers to take on one last job: smuggling a million-dollar shipment of locally manufactured amphetamine to Syria, where the drug is wildly popular with militia fighters.
Smelling a trap, Ziad, Joe, and Jad hatch a plan to divert the shipment to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, where they have a secure connection. By chance, they learn that cans of exposed film reels are spared the obligatory X-ray scanning at the Beirut airport, as the radiation can wipe the footage. Overnight, the three brothers become the producers of a feature film directed by Charbel, a talentless filmmaker and frequent customer whose tab at the pizzeria has vastly exceeded his means. As the shipping date approaches, the boys race to finalize the details of their very big plan while warding off the suspicions of their vengeful boss.
Followed by Q & A with the Filmmakers
ABOUT THE FILM
Official Submission for Best Foreign Language Film - Lebanon
Country: Lebanon, Qatar
Duration: 107 minutes
Director: Mir -Jean Bou Chaaya
Producers: Lucien Bou Chaaya, Christian Bou Chaaya, MIr-Jean Bou Chaaya
Language(s): Arabic, English, French
Cinematographer: Fadi Kassem
Editor: Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, Simon El Habre
Music By: Michel Elefterides
Sound: Niels Barletta, Giannis Giannakopoulos
Principal Cast: Alain Saadeh, Wissam Fares, Fouad Yammine, Alexandra Kahwagi, Tarek Yaacoub
Contact: T. +961 (0) 3 11 55 18, firstname.lastname@example.org
The projected, or better said, the received image, can always mask reality making it difficult to reveal the original image, especially when buried under countless layers. The dissimulation may be unintentional, especially when there is no particular reason to guise reality. On the other hand, when reality is purposely camouflaged, the recipient is a victim of manipulation placing them in a state of misperception, confusing fiction with reality. From the point of view of a handheld camera, the story of a man, a family, a country, a civilization who is losing the line between fiction and reality. A manipulation conducted by a man, turning from a drug dealer into a film producer. The transformation could not however be done without discovering the power of Cinema. This is the understanding of the “power of the image” that this film projects, a concept that underlines the authority imposed by the fact that we only see what is shown to us. The film is shot in real sets in the modest suburbs of Beirut reflecting a brutal facet. A low saturation dominating the color palette and a wide space for improvised acting, with references to animals in character build up, hyenas for the three brothers and lions for Hussam and Abou Ali; every mean is employed to make the film look as real and organic as possible. I intend to keep the spectator open to all sorts of interpretations, playing around with the “mise en abime” effect in an honest, real looking cinema, as if exposing the true fiction in a guised reality.