Mafkoud (2020) – A Lebanese story that has its own story
Article by Amar Fahes
Mafkoud was released in 2020 but underwent production starting 2013, this movie begun as a passion project whereby Lebanese film enthusiasts & university students, who have now become professionals within the industry, came together to make it happen with very minimal funding… and filmed it during the weekends only due to the crew’s prior engagements and other projects.
As I sat down for the avant-premiere unaware of the above facts, unsure of what to expect, and having not seen a trailer or even a summary… I had made space for the movie to leave an impression on me with a clean slate.
This review will NOT reveal any spoilers, but I will mention it’s a psychological thriller that tells a story of someone who had been traumatized by the Lebanese civil war. While plenty of Lebanese movies touch on the civil war as a subject, this one proved to be different, but relevant, which is a breath of fresh air.
To express my own review quite simply, what caught my attention most was the impressive cinematography that spoke on behalf of the script. The vivid imagery, beautiful settings, and sincere expressions… As for the storyline, the ending had quite a twist that took me by surprise and was far from predictable. However, throughout the movie I felt too much of the narrative was trying to be delivered in an untimely manner, which made it seem a little scattered.
On a personal level, that tampered with my attention and where it should be, somehow leaving me confused; not in a sense of anticipation for what’s to come but more of questioning what the scenes themselves pertained to in terms of context, and so keeping tabs on the flow and build-up of the story was a little challenging. I remained patient however, and while there was not a single scene that bored me, there was some inconsistency that made linking scenarios together difficult, and some subtle cues that got lost in the sequence.
Perhaps this was due to the fact that the movie took so long to make and a lot of changes were necessary in the process, not to mention the team behind it has since come a very long way in their career and experience.
Director Bachir Abou Zeid continued to direct ”Idriss” and “Kalash”, an impressive 23 minute single-shot film depicting the story of resistance through a massacre that happened during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Art director of both Mafkoud and Kalash, Omar K. Beaini, had also taken up on the role of a wardrobe stylist in several TV series and feature films.
Meanwhile Hasan Salame, the director of photography on his first feature film then, went on to make several features, including but not limited to “Bala Haybeh”, “Yom Eh Yom La2,” and TV series “Neswanjeh bel Halel”. Furthermore, Ilat Knayzeh had taken on the role of being an assistant director and production designer on several films such as “Morine”, “Ekel Shereb Neyem”, and other TV series as well.
Having spoken to the crew that was involved in the making of, I learned many scenes were dismissed and several more were dubbed with a different dialogue than what was initially intended. Nevertheless, it’s apparent that the film required a lot of hard work and effort, and you can tell it was done with passion. We suggest you hit the cinema while Mafkoud is still screening because it does have an interesting take on the idea behind it, and because we believe despite personal taste in films, supporting local artists is essential to their success & development, and our cultural entertainment as a whole.
Tags: Lebanese Cinema
Located at 204 Matta Bldg, Makdessi Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon