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Genet in Chatila

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Directed by | Richard Dino

Genre documentary  |  Length: 98mins  |  Year of production: 2000

Genet in Chatila is a documentary meditation on Jean Genet's experiences of the Palestinian revolution in Lebanon and Jordan in the early and mid1970s, and again in 1982, when the aging author returned to Beirut and there witnessed the immediate aftermath of the Sabra and Chatila massacre just outside Beirut:

"A photograph can't capture the flies," he wrote, "nor the thick white smell of death, nor can it show how you have to jump when you go from one body to another."

This was an encounter which compelled Genet to start writing after 20 years of reticence. The pages Genet worked on in Beirut were to grow into Prisoner of Love, his last book, from which Dino's work takes its cue. Genet�s recollections of his 2 years living with Palestinian resistance fighters in Jordan in the 1970s (�The feda'iyeen didn't want power, they had freedom�) narrate a contemporary journey to seek out the living among Genet�s old comrades�.

Reflecting on the fate of his companions in 1982, Genet insists, "It must be stated... that hundreds of years are not enough for the final destruction of a people�.

This is a poetic political film which articulates Genet�s aesthetics of resistance and revolution while asking what remains of a revolution unfinished.