THE PLACE WHERE I BELONGDOCUMENTARY
THE PLACE WHERE I BELONG
"Before you die, die empty." -Divina Hell
The psychological, emotional, physical but also materialistic residues the explosion August 4th left on the Lebanese citizens have reshaped the course of their entire life. Just like many, Amelia, an emotional, obedient, lost filmmaker, tries to immigrate out of Lebanon. But right before she leaves, while renewing her passport, she meets Divina, who’s renewing her national ID. A rational, rebellious, determined street poet who unintentionally changes the direction of her entire plans.
A young lost lady in Beirut, has one dream: to become the best version of herself. After witnessing more than half of the Lebanese citizens immigrate to create a better life for themselves abroad due to surviving one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history: The Beirut Port Explosion of August 4th, 2020…Amelia, an emotional, obedient, lost filmmaker, tries to immigrate out of Lebanon. But right before she leaves, while renewing her passport, she meets Divina, who’s renewing her national ID. A rational, rebellious, determined street poet who unintentionally changes the direction of her entire plans. This encounter forcefully challenges Amelia to reconsider all her plans. Even so, despite their extreme differences, this meeting ends up pulling these two strangers closer to one another for a greater cause. Will Amelia be able to build the life she planned for herself in Lebanon? Will she be able to find her independence and become the best version of herself there? Will Amelia be just another person who leaves? Or will she be one of the very rare who stays?
During the triple crisis, Lebanon is facing, from the pandemic to the economic deterioration, the post destruction and trauma caused by the explosion of August 4th, 2020, almost half of the Lebanese population immigrated and still are to this day. In a time where the Lebanese youth is escaping from the harsh reality, when almost everyone around me is leaving to form a better, well established, stable, and safe future for themselves believing the grass is greener on the other side, the current situation has a different impact on me. My rational mind tells her to leave to quit the survival mode of life, but everything around me, despite the chaos, makes me want to stay. I do not want to be just another person who leaves. I don’t want to be running from the hardships that come along with reality.
When Lebanon was still in great condition, I never felt rooted or grounded in the place. I never felt like I belonged. But this situation drastically changed after the explosion. I started seeing the beauty in the destruction, while constantly trying to romanticize the pain, and make sense of the chaos and absurdity around me. How in one second, the lives of thousands of people entirely flipped. How we think we are in control of our lives, when in fact we aren’t. How we live like we’re immortal but we might die, just at any given moment because we can’t guarantee anything around us. I honestly created a fond connection with my city without even realizing it till I started getting a huge uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and feeling nauseous every time I thought of immigrating or owning a different nationality. I felt like selling and trading myself and who I am and where I come from for the sake of a life that I can’t even guarantee.
However, I had always wanted to immigrate and leave Lebanon to become the best version of who I could become as an individual. To reach my full potential both professionally and personally. I was never able to do that with the instability of the day-to-day basic issues we’re facing here that served as obstacles and constant distractions or even better, a total waste of time. While going through a quarter-life crisis; a period of uncertainty, questioning, and intense soul searching, two years later, I came to realize that I don’t need to be stripped out of my country and far away from my friends and family to become the person I want to become, to reinvent myself, to grow and explore my options in life. Now that I have adapted to chaos, now that I have gone through chaos, I can only grow through it. Immigrating and leaving is hard, but staying is also hard. And after so much indecisiveness, being lost for the past two years, I chose to stay. Because here is where I belong.
This film is a personal journey of self-discovery and growth. A film through which I want to get a better understanding of myself, therefore life in general. I want to know what matters and what doesn't, what one needs to truly be content and happy. In the fast-paced world we're currently living in, we’re working 24/7, consumerism is all over the place, trends are washing out individuals' identities. Everyone is so busy working on everything outside of them, and that promenade I had shifted my entire perspective on life. I feel the need to pause and reflect. To work on what matters: my internal self.
This film was officially selected to take part of the IDFA Space Program 2022.
- THIS FILM IS STILL IN THE DEVELOPMENT PHASE -