First broadcast date
Renée is an old lady of Lebanese origin now living in Marseille. Surrounded by her cousins, she relates some childhood memories in Lebanon referring to a central object in her childhood, the piano.
Family and related
- Art, Culture and Knowledge / Music and songs
Credits / Cast
- Charbonnier Marianne - Director
- Lebanon - Coastline - Beirut
- France - South East - Marseille
The village of Deir-el-Kamar mentioned in the film is in the Chouf mountains on Mount Lebanon to the east of Beirut. This mountainous region is considered by many writers to be the cradle of modern Lebanon. During the period of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul nominated Druze governors who deeply marked the territory and history of Mount Lebanon. The best known of them was Emir Fakhreddine II Maan, who managed to enlarge his emirate beyond the present borders of the Lebanon. His grandfather, Emir Fakhreddine I made Deir-el-Kamar the capital of Mount Lebanon in the 16th century. The village is endowed with the palaces shown in the film. They were places of power, culture and social life, centred round the Emir. The palace or segalio shown by Madame Raffoul in the film belonged to Emire Fakhreddine II Maan and dates from the 17th century. For generations the Maronite Baz family were special advisors to successive Ottoman governors, enjoying an extremely privileged position. Thanks to services rendered to the Emirs, they were able to buy the palaces when the power of the Emirs was declining.
From the 19th century French missionaries strengthened their presence in this area of many different faiths, where Druze lived side by side with Maronites (occasionally with stormy repercussions, as we can see by the importance the 1860 massacres still have in living memory). University and French-language culture, the exchanges with France were many during the Mandate (1920-43): the French dignitaries often stayed in this typical village which since the Second World War has been classified as a historic monument, while the local elites could benefit from French-language schools. The local elites were involved in the fight for independence in 1943, as for example Camille Chamoun born in Deir-el-Kamar who became Lebanon's second president from 1953 to 1958.
Renée's early years are those of the French mandate and the first years of independence. This film shows the life style of a prestigious Maronite family from Mount Lebanon, moving between Beirut, Damascus and the palaces in the mountain. The film devotes a large part to the women's social llife, while the men go about their business in town, the women accompanied by children have refined holidays in the seraglio. The film also lets us glimpse the terrible years first of the civil war (1975-1990), with the Lebanese militias (such as Camille Chamoun's Tiger Militia) fighting according to their religion, and then of the later foreign interventions due to the Israeli-Arab conflict. The brief story of the car bomb shows the violence of the fighting, in particular in the districts of mixed-religion such as on Mount Lebanon. As from 1983 the "War of the Mountain" ravaged the Chouf region.
Geo-location on Googlemaps of the places cited:
Bibliography et sitography :
AMMOUN Denise, Histoire du Liban contemporain (1860-1943), Fayard, Paris, 1997
LAURENS Henry et CLOAREC Vincent, Le Moyen-Orient au 20ème siècle, P.U.F., Paris, 2003
MERMIER Franck et VARIN Christophe, Mémoire de guerre au Liban (1975-1990), Sinbad, Actes Sud, Paris, 2010
SALIBI Kamal, Histoire du Liban du XVIIème siècle à nos jours, Naufal, Beyrouth, 1992
Nasser Liliane Rada, Ces Marseillais venus d'Orient, L'immigration libanaise à Marseille aux XIXe et XXe siècles, Editions KARTHALA, Paris, 2010, 255 pages.