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Traces

[Experimental essay, Lebanon/Canada, 2023]

Beirut 1980: Amid the rubble of a torn building, a reel of film. An unlikely unraveling of queer bodies taking shape and form, while the war-torn city around and its spectacle of toxic masculinity glitches and disintegrates.

ين أنقاض أحد المباني، بَكَرةُ فيلم. تمظهرٌ غير اعتيادي لأجساد كويرية آخذة بالتبلور شكلاً وحيّزاً في حين أن المدينة التي احتلتها الذكورية ومزقتها الحرب تتعطل وتتفكك


The project explores the cinematic gaze towards queer bodies as well as their constant absence from the recurrent narrative or collective memory. It started with the discovery of 80s pornographic found footage and so we asked ourselves the question, what if this was found in a dilapidated house? What if instead of the process of the image disintegrating, we bring it to life as if the disintegrated lives of queer women that were meant to stay unseen or disfigured or left to rot slowly come to life and assert their presence within the context of the 80s in Lebanon, a period so overtly represented by war and violence and from which all narrative about personal lives and intimacy is removed.

16mm D2F | 1440x1080 | 8'45” | 23.98 fps
Super8mm/ Found footage

Distributed by:

2022: Recipient of the Cinema al Fouad and Beirut DC Production Grant

2022: Recipient of the Explore and Create: From Concept to Realization - Canada Council for the Arts fund

2022: Recipient of the Vivacité fund of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for development

  • Harwick, Scottish borders: Alchemy film and arts, 2024
  • London, UK: British film institute Flare, 2024
  • Belgrade, Serbia: Kinoskop Fest. GRAND PRIX
  • Philadelphia, U.S.A. 12G twelve gates arts: Contemporary Video Art Exhibition, 2023
  • Guanajuato, Mexico: Experimental Film Guanajuato, 2023
  • Chichinau, Moldova: Queer voices, 2023
  • Winnipeg, Canada: WNDX Festival of Moving Image,  2023
  • Stockhholm, Sweden: Cinema Queer, 2023
  • Regina, Canada: Queer City Cinema, 2023
  • Toronto, Canada: Toronto Arab Film Festival, 2023

From a defiant gesture of material memorialising to the speculative post-conflict queering of warzone rubble, the five films in this programme use the cinematic image to trace, map, preserve and amplify the absences, aftershocks of trauma. In Chantal Partamian’s Traces, queer feminine desire overthrows a militarised patriarchal order, through a provocative and electronically scored comingling of different sets of glitchy, abstracted, and disintegrated found footage. Ali, Jonathan. "PROGRAMME NOTES." Alchemy Film & Arts, 2024


Movie TRACES works organically on body, emotional and intellectual level, going beyond the critique of masculine military culture and denouncing its devastating effect of dispersal, (but) also, giving (us) goose bumps and optimistic excitement of the poetry of Eros, movie where all dots (and elements) find their artistic reason for being. Kinoskop - Festival analognog filma jury : Olja Nikolić - Kia, Tin Dožić i Radiša Cvetković

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