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Night in a Glass of Water

Spring Grants 2020 - Development Stage
Current project status: DEVELOPMENT

Carlos Chahine / Feature Narrative / France, Lebanon, Qatar / 100 min / Original Language: Arabic, French / Interests: Women, Drama, Social Issues, Psychological


Northern Lebanon, summer of 1958—in a small village in the ancient Christian Qadisha Valley, many families have left the stifling city to enjoy a cool, quiet summer in their country houses. Meanwhile, revolution rages in Beirut. One morning six-year-old Charles sees two foreign tourists who have newly arrived at the village hotel. They are Hélène, 55, and her son René, aged 30. The next day a miracle occurs. In the village church, the statue of the Virgin Mary sheds tears of blood. Because it is too dangerous to travel, the two French visitors have to stay in the village. They get to know some of the summer folk from the city and grow particularly attached to Charles and his mother. René and Charles’ mother, Layla, have a passionate, illicit fling. Layla comes to realize that she can no longer bear being a woman in the man’s world to which she belongs. She is beholden to all men, her father, husband, lover; even her son, who demands her constant presence. In the end, she chooses to walk out on them all. By the end of the summer, Lebanon has pulled back from the brink. There is hope that the golden years are about to begin. What nobody yet knows is that those years will be the last of an already dying social order and a country on the road to self-destruction. The events of the summer of 1958 are seen through the eyes of six-year-old Charles and, at times, his mother.


Carlos Chahine
Carlos Chahine
Autres Rivages, 13 Productions

About the Director

Carlos Chahine was born in Lebanon, which he left for France in 1975 when civil war erupted. After qualifying as a dentist, Carlos won a place at the prestigious National Theater of Strasbourg’s drama school. He went on to work as a stage, film and TV actor for more than 20 years. His work with Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab prompted his return to Lebanon. Carlos has written, directed and acted in three films set in Lebanon: a short, ‘The North Road’; a documentary essay, ‘Chekhov’ in Beirut; and another short, ‘The Gambler’s Son’. Together, they make up a family trilogy about a father, mother and child.


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    Carlos Chahine


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