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Tramontane (Rabih)

New Voices in Cinema

Vatche Boulghourjian / Feature Narrative / Lebanon, France, United Arab Emirates, Qatar / 2016 / 100 min / Colour / DCP
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Drama
Rated: Parental guidance advised for viewers under the age of 15. Individuals under the age of 15 are not admitted into cinemas unless accompanied by an individual aged 18 or over.

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Young Rabih is well-liked by family, friends and the community of the Lebanese village he calls home. A blind, extremely talented singer and tablah player, he spends much of his time rehearsing with the musical group he plays in. When the band is invited to perform in Europe, Rabih, excited by the opportunity, heads to the magistrate’s office to obtain his passport – only to discover there are certain “irregularities” with his identity card. Denied international travel until he can prove to the authorities who he is, Rabih finds himself opening a closet full of family skeletons.

It is clear that in ‘Tramontane’, director Vatche Boulghourjian is telling a tale that parallels Lebanon’s experience of delving into the turmoil of its recent history. Rabih asks questions about the past that inspire fear, contempt, regret and indignation; the responses he receives, when they are not outright untruths, are laden with feeble attempts to justify unforgotten disgrace. At the same time, the film has a universal ring in its examination of the grief, guilt and shame that are the wages of lies and betrayal.

Boulghourjian is careful to avoid overdramatisation or blame, maintaining instead the balanced understanding that arises from watching characters as their eyes and faces register the flicker of culpability – an approach that, appropriately, inspires conciliation rather than animosity, and champions the freedom of truth over the prison of deceit.

About the Director

Vatche Boulghourjian is from Lebanon and holds an MFA in film from New York University. Before attending NYU, Boulghourjian worked throughout the Middle East on documentaries for television networks while also making his independent shorts, experimental films, and documentaries. ‘Fifth Column’, his thesis film, received a production grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and in 2010 had its premiere at the Festival de Cannes as part of the Cinéfondation programme, where it won third prize. Boulghourjian is currently developing his first feature, ‘Tramontane’, which was selected by the Venice Biennale to take part in the inaugural edition of the Biennale College – Cinema.


Vatche Boulghourjian
Vatche Boulghourjian
Caroline Oliveira, Georges Schoucair
Nadia Ben Rachid
James Lee Phelan
Sales Company
The Bureau Films
Production Company
Rebus Film Production, Abbout Film Productions
Abbout Productions
Barakat Jabbour, Julia Kassar, Toufic Barakat


  • Main Contact

    Vatche Boulghourjian

    Rebus Film Production


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