Do You Love Me
Lana Daher (director) & Krystel Abou Karam (editor)
Do You Love Me, named after the Bendaly Family song (1978) is an archive-based documentary about the history of Lebanon and it’s generations since the civil war (1975) until today. The film tells the story of this society through the country’s musical and cinematic archives.
Do You Love Me, is a coming-of-age film named after the widely popular Bendaly Family song that was released during the Lebanese Civil War, which started on April 13, 1975. It is an archive-based documentary about this society during a time of war. We meet the generation of Lebanese that grew up during and after the war. Using mainly archive footage and no talking heads, the film weaves together three main narrative lines. The main story features the stories and anecdotes of the men, women and children who remained in Lebanon through these years. Their personal accounts are emotional and revealing. The second layer tells the story through the eyes of the Lebanese musicians who wrote songs that marked this generation - their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Finally, we discover the context of the time (historical, military, political but also the daily life and means of survival during the period of the civil war leading up to today’s revolution). The soundscape of the film (voice over, interviews, radio archives and songs) will bind the different narrative lines together and serve as a link between the past and the present. Interweaving the songs of then and now, with the director’s voice over and these intimate personal stories of both the artists of the time and the youth, we re-tell the history of a country and people with no written history. At the end of the Lebanese Civil War the same warlords who ran the country during the war were re-elected to form a government. Since October 17, 2019, people are revolting and that government has finally been overthrown. Despite awakening from a deep sleep the Lebanese are unable to agree - neither over what happened during the war and nor about what should happen next. Nonetheless this has been a unique moment for the nation and a chance to acknowledge the past and maybe begin to heal from it. Do You Love Me is about memory but it is not only about the past. The film is about the present and how we can live in it. The film studies a society in denial; it is an emotional ethnography and the untold history of a generation through the music of the time.
Lana Daher is a filmmaker living and working in Beirut. In 2006, she earned her BFA in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from the American University of Beirut and in 2012, her MA in Filmmaking (directing) from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her early experiences experimenting with audio visual media as well as DJ-ing led her to collaborate with artists and musicians from the Lebanese underground scene on music videos, live visuals and print work. Her storytelling practice ranges from documentary to narrative filmmaking. She has both shot and directed privately commissioned documentaries on independent Lebanese designers as well as music videos and short films. Do You Love Me is her first feature documentary which she is directing as well as co-producing.
Krystel Abou Karam is a filmmaker and editor born in Beirut in 1992. Her love for story-telling led her to learn editing at the age of 16 when she pursued this path by enrolling in the School of Cinema and Audio-Visual Directing in Lebanon. Months after graduating, she worked for two years as an associate editor in the Lebanese film Capernaum, carefully building the story from 400 hours of rushes by a cast of nonprofessional actors. The film premiered in Cannes in 2018 and won the Cannes Jury Prize. Right after, she edited a German feature documentary Peter Lindbergh - Women’s Stories, mixing interviews, archives, photographs and film rolls to tell the life story of one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. The film premiered in Berlinale 2019. Krystel is currently based in Beirut where she edits short documentaries, fiction, TVCs, music videos, and more recently is focused on developing feature documentaries with directors.