MANIVELLE – LAST DAYS OF THE MAN OF TOMORROW
Fadi Baki, Germany/Lebanon, 2017, DCP, 29′, English subtitles
Screening followed by a talk on Middle Eastern cinema in collaboration with Ekran magazine. Guests: Bernadette Klausberger and Niklas Hlawatsch (producers of Manivelle), Adham Youssef (Berlin based film critic and specialist on Egyptian cinema).
The short film tells the tumultuous story of Manivelle, a robot gifted by France to Lebanon on the occasion of its independence. Once the wonder of his age, today Manivelle is a rusty and forgotten curiosity. A satirical mocumentary with an old school approach to sci-fi portrays the legendary robot, now a moving bunch of scrap metal and spare motor parts, through supposed archival material and mock interviews. What are the life regrets of Manivelle, whose rise and fall mirrors that of Lebanon itself?
“Being born in Lebanon during the 70s meant that my childhood played out against a backdrop of Star Wars, Japanese animation and a civil war. That holy trinity was instrumental in developing my tastes for science fiction and the fantastical, and has pushed me to seek out a career where I can indulge those inclinations. /…/ Giant robots and space operas provided us with the mythological backdrop to understand and structure the struggle against which we grew up. Yet, as I grew older and the Lebanese civil war ended, I discovered that our contemporary local culture was quick to abandon the fantastical. In many ways it reflected the national approach to dealing with the memory of the war: amnesia.”
– Fadi Baki