Lebanon is a country going downhill in every way, be it political, economic, sanitary…you name it. An amalgam of tension points that keep on draining its assets and values. Yet, in times of crisis, minds blow and creativity flourishes while culture wrestles with repression. Choosing the High Five for Lebanon is not easy, as everything is hitting rock bottom and the Lebanese are still fighting the repression of their ruling authority who have held them hostage in their own country. But they will never take away from them their will to dream, create, rejuvenate and survive with dignity. This state of mind is reflected in the five pieces I chose for you today as a salute to the Lebanese spirit that will keep on shining no matter what. So High Five to that...
'The Final Call' - Short Film
Director: Patrick Elias
This is an independent film produced and directed by a young Lebanese director. It was released last month and widely shared on social platforms. It depicts the state of mind of the Lebanese today, not feeling welcome at home anymore, with this constant urge to exit the drama of their everyday struggles. What I absolutely love about this is the accurate narrative in every situation portraying a glitch in the system, from water drainage to electricity and internet hiccups, to the economic downfall directly linked to a reckless and police state government. The craft is also in the audio mix where the well-recognisable voice at Beirut airport is used to deliver the script.
MTV - '#StopTheMyths'
Another piece using sarcasm and humour to mirror the drama. This one plunges you into the heart of the Lebanese kitchen, adding flavour to the everyday cuisine with a funny twist that can leave a bitter taste if you don’t follow the rules and regulations to escape the ongoing pandemic. Beautifully narrated using local recipes and macro shots of utensils and food plates, this exquisite commercial raises awareness on the dangers of spreading fake medical advice and encourages people to register for the vaccine.
An-Nahar - '#EndTheBleed'
Agency: Impact BBDO
Valentine’s day is stained with blood as the brutal assassination of Lebanese prime minister, Rafic Hariri, happened on that same day. While 14th February is a day to express love, our bloody Valentine becomes a day to express our undying love to our country in an urge to end the never-ending bleed, as our wounds keep on opening with every brutal and recurrent assassination. An-Nahar mixes blood with ink to print the Bloodline Edition in a complete innovative storytelling inviting its readers to fight atrocity with love. The vintage engraving illustration technique of the newspaper’s front-page plants the cedar tree in an anatomical human heart, finding its roots in the bleeding veins. A brutal expression that beautifully illustrates the atrocious reality.
Zuhair Murad - Ready-to-Wear Fall 2021 - 'The Glowing Beats'
Production House: Zoé
Director: Elie Fahed
Zuhair Murad’s headquarters have been devastated by the double explosion that hit Beirut on 4th August, blowing away most of his archives and all his work for the upcoming ready-to-wear and couture collections. Yet, this has not stopped him from immediately launching an initiative to raise funds and help a local NGO. It also didn’t stop him from creating his first-ever video few months later to launch his new collection. 'The Glowing Beats' is not just a piece of content that promotes a product, it’s an embodiment of beauty and happiness. An epitome of peace and love that encapsulates the Lebanese resilience through creativity and culture. Entirely shot in Lebanon with the expertise of homegrown talents, and moving to the iconic beats of Mashrou3 Leila, this mesmerising video takes you on a journey through extravagance, lavish glitters and fabric that continues to put Lebanon’s renaissance under the spotlight, which will never fail to dim.
Café Najjar - 'Whatever Turn Life Takes'
Agency: Memac Ogilvy
Yes, one more ad that keeps reminding us that times are tough while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Our new norms are now built around heavy circumstances, made harsher because we happen to live in Lebanon. This optimistic TV commercial boosts confidence when it seems to be most needed, in a country losing everything. What really remains after the great downfall, is the real value of being who you truly are: a survivor with a good cup of coffee that will help clear your mind and start a new day. The relevant storytelling keeps the narrative fresh even when the structure looks cliché. The relatable situations add a compassionate smile on the face that serves well this local brand and positively resonates with its audience.