2008, 18 min, Color/B&W, Silent/Sound
4x3 Full Screen DVD NTSC
©Muqarnas Film

Song for the Deaf Ear (2008); silent, but for the last minute. from Hisham Bizri on Vimeo.

Conception, Editing, Cinematography, Sound & Direction: Hisham Bizri

"Therefore, the most important thing to do in film now is to find a way for it to include invisibility, just as music already enjoys inaudibility (silence)." John Cage On Film (1958)

“Song for the Deaf Ear” is a film poem about the insanity of war and violence in Lebanon. The filmmaker returned to his country of origin in 2007 to create a film on the death of his neighbors some 20 years ago. He constructed a story that revolves around a man who was shot dead on the streets of Beirut during the civil war and the crumbling world surrounding him. We see flashes of him throughout the film -- first bleeding on the pavement, and, finally, his death. At the film’s end, we see a home movie shot the summer before his death -- he is sailing, with his family and his fiancée, enjoying a simple day in their life.

The narrative structure draws upon consciously edited footage of various archival materials from the history of Lebanese wars, of animals and of nature, built into intricate patterns of flashes of images. These images are intertwined with asynchronous patterns of frame-to-frame montage, with certain structures creating a seemingly endless series of irregular forms.

The inter-cutting follows a pattern of 2 frames, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 128, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and various combinations of these, in the tradition of my mentor, the Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka.

Cinema becomes a maze and a language of nightmares, as the political, social, historical, and cosmic meditations in the narrative explore the roots of violence, ever ready to destroy the illusion of a stable social life -and of lack of responsibility- represented by the home movie.

Through its relentless juxtapositions, the fictive narrative reveals the complex task of trying to come to terms with brutality and chaos of history through the inner life of a person. Possibly the only thread that can bind together the film's story is a problematized recognition of self and of history.