THE UGLY ONE

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A FILM BY ERIC BAUDELAIRE
FROM A STORY TOLD BY MASAO ADACHI
101 MIN - COLOR - 2013
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Winter, Beirut. On a beach littered with cans washed up from the sea, Lili and Michel meet. Perhaps they know each other from before. As they struggle to piece together the fragments of an uncertain past, memories emerge: an act of terrorism, an explosion and the disappearance of a child, Elena.

Woven throughout these fragments is the deep voice of a Japanese narrator who recounts his own experience of a weeping Beirut, and his 27 clandestine years fighting alongside the Palestinians as a member of the Japanese Red Army. His voiceover shapes Michel and Lili’s story, their fate dictated by the enigma created for them by this narrator who turns out to be legendary Japanese New Wave filmmaker Masao Adachi.

Set adrift, Michel and Lili search for themselves, navigating a sea delineated by the memories of Adachi the “ex-terrorist,” the screenplay he is spelling out for them, and the camera of the French director, Eric Baudelaire, whose film breaks away from the narrative instructions dispatched by Adachi from Tokyo.

Part love affair, part political tale, half-documentary and half-fiction, the film is also a confrontation between two generations of politics and filmmaking, exploring the question of militancy and regret. As a backdrop, a changing Beirut, the ghost of a disillusioned Lebanese communist movement, and the spectre of an intractable civil war in Syria — political impasses that are mirrored by the narrative impossibilities upon which The Ugly One is built.

A PRELUDE


PRESS & REVIEWS


FILMMAKER MAGAZINE, Paul Dallas

The Ugly One, an ambitious new work by French filmmaker and artist Eric Baudelaire and narrated by Japanese New Wave screenwriter Masao Adachi, follows a couple in Beirut coping with the loss of their child to a terrorist act. Featuring stunning photography of the city’s beaches and ruins (lensed by Claire Mathon, d.p. on Stranger By the Lake), the film’s confusion of memory and place begins as a slightly stilted meta-textual exercise and builds to a work with political and emotional urgency. AUG 15 2013

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LIBÉRATION, Bruno Icher

A cette confusion ironique entre réel et fiction, The Ugly One, d’Eric Baudelaire (qui aurait mérité un petit quelque-chose à la distribution des prix) répond avec un dispositif passionnant. Il a demandé à Masao Adashi, scénariste d’Oshima et de Wakamastu, ancien membre de l’Armée rouge japonaise, auquel Baudelaire a consacré son premier film, l’Anabase de May et Fusako Shigenobu, d’écrire une histoire dont il ne connaîtrait que le point de départ et le contexte, s’astreignant à tourner au fur et à mesure que l’auteur lui enverrait les éléments. Le film, réalisé à Beyrouth, convoque la mélancolie des années de guerre, la lutte armée, les clivages. Entre les différentes époques abordées, la souffrance de la désillusion et le récit elliptique et truffé de trous aussi béants que la mémoire des personnages, une autre histoire s’écrit et se réécrit, laissant toujours la porte ouverte à une interprétation d’un passé à vif. Et quand sonne l’heure des règlements de comptes, le retour à la réalité est terriblement cruel. AUG 18 2013


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FESTIVALS
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Locarno Film FestivalDubai International Film FestivalDocLisboaInternational Film Festival Rotterdam

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CREDITS
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DIRECTOR  Eric Baudelaire
FROM A STORY TOLD BY  Masao Adachi
WRITTEN BY  Eric Baudelaire, Laure Vermeersch
CAST  Rabih Mroué, Juliette Navis, Manal Khader, Fadi Abi Samra, Rodney El Haddad, Hassan Mrad
PHOTOGRAPHY  Claire Mathon
SOUND  Philippe Welsh, Jean Holtzmann
EDITORS  Stéphane Elmadjian, Cécile Frey
ARTISTIC COLLABORATION  Siska, Eleonore Mahmoudian, Laure Vermeersch
SET DESIGN  Nanou Ghanem
COSTUME DESIGN  Beatrice Harb
LINE PRODUCER  Guillaume Lefrançois
CO-PRODUCERS LEBANON  Sabine Sidawi, Jinane Dagher, Orjouane Productions
DIGITAL LAB  M141

WITH THE SUPPORT OF  Audi talents awards - La Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques - Le Centre National Du Cinema – DICRéAM - Kadist Art Foundation - Beirut Art Center - Office du Tourisme du Liban à Paris

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TECHNICAL INFO
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DURATION  101 min
PROJECTION FORMAT  DCP Scope 2.39, sound 5.1
LANGUAGES  Japanese, Lebanese, English and French
SUBTITLES  English or French