Daily Projections, 12-08-2018; Listen (2017)

Title: Listen
Director: Philippe Aractingi
Country of Origin: Lebanon
Year: 2017
Screening format: Streaming
Setting: Home
First viewing: Yes

Notes: Joud is a young recording engineer whose ears are his life until girlfriend Rana falls into a coma as a result of a hit and run accident, then his ears become hers. Inspired by the knowledge that coma patients can still hear sound, Joud is intent on coaxing Rana back to the waking world (which provides ample opportunity for the film’s sound editor, Rana Eid, to really strut her stuff). On its surface, perhaps, Listen is a film about love and commitment, but there’s more to it. Maybe it’s really about obsession or lost causes. Every major character is somehow lost within themselves: Rana within her own unconsciousness, Joud in his single-minded quest for a cure,and Rana’s sister Marwa with her pending marriage and desire for independence. The topic of fidelity (of men, of family, of Beirut itself) is broached many times while the questions of clinging to the past, living in the present, and planning for the future continually pull at each other. Is the fool the man who clings to the past or the one who forges full steam into the future? Or is it anyone who fails to embrace the two? There are issues at play here that I, having never actually lived in Lebanon, have only partial access to through the filter of my own relatives. Perhaps the woman in the coma is Lebanon itself, yet to truly awaken from its war-induced slumber. I don’t know. But that’s another question for another time. One I may never be fully equipped to answer.

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