74 (The Reconstruction of a Struggle) (2012)
1h 35min · Documentary · 8 July 2012
1974. Lebanon is in intellectual, cultural and political ferment. Between March and April, for 37 days, a few students from the American University of Beirut occupy the university's premises to protest against rising tuition fees. 2011: in the midst of the Arab Spring, Rania and Raed Rafei decide to step back and reconsider today's situation in the light of that period which was pregnant with hope, but also a prelude to civil war. Should they revive the past? Recall it? Reconstruct it? That's a crucial question. Here the method is decisive. First, make meticulous research. Then launch the experiment, as the film doesn't only reread past events, but also searches for their echo in today's time. Thus yesterday's protagonists are portrayed by their likely modern counterparts, political actors involved in present struggles. What is democracy today, and how can we fight? A few guidelines, a few emblematic accessories as so many signs (a picture of Che Guevara, a megaphone) and here they go, launching into an experiment based on improvisation, in which a form of theatricality accentuated by the enclosed setting interact with cinema. And in this dialectic of past and present, memories go around as freely as words in present time, just like in the interviews which punctuate the film - yesterday's and today's words getting inextricably mixed.
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