West of May
Fall Grants 2022 - Production Stage
In ‘West of May’, I want to describe Lebanon through the portrait of the Alayli family. This family, from the working class neighbourhood of Aiché Bakkar in Beirut, is challenged by the surges of the country’s contemporary history—the economic crisis, the civil society uprising, and more recently, the explosion of August 4, 2020, which devastated part of the city. The strong bonds between father, mother and son are tested by ideological discord. In my eyes, the Alayli family is a synthesis of this country.
The battle of Sakiet Al Janzir in 2008 deeply aﬀected Naknouk’s son, Ahmad, to the point that as an adult, and despite the chagrin and opposition of his father and mother, converted to Shi’ism and developed a fascination for Hezbollah. He turned against his father and his original confession, Sunnism. Sawsan, the mother, finds herself between the father and the son, protecting the latter against the former but taking a political stand against both. She defends the values of the Lebanese civil society. Despite the deep political and ideological disagreements, father, mother, and son continue to live together, under the same roof, in joy and good humour.
- Sarah Srage
- Sarah Srage
- Fabrice Marache
- Production Company
- L'Atelier Documentaire
About the Director
Sarah Srage was born in Beirut in 1986. After obtaining her French baccalaureate in literature, she studied visual arts at ALBA. In 2007, she obtained a scholarship for the Fusion Arts program, organised by the US Embassy in Lebanon, in screenwriting, at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. She worked in television as a director in Lebanon. In 2009, she moved to Paris to continue her studies at the Beaux-Arts de Paris in the studio of Elsa Cayo. In 2012, Sarah trained for a year in documentary cinema in Ardèche, at the Lussas School. She graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2014 with the congratulations of the jury. Her career in Lebanon, in terms of art and cinema, enabled her to direct her first film 'Children of Beirut' (2017). It was selected at the Cinéma du Réel festival, in the First Films competition and was showcased in several festivals. In 2020, Sarah became a visual arts teacher in the Paris region and is part of the collective Les Marchandes de Tapis.