Roy Samaha • Landscape at Noon

Roy Samaha

March 5, 2024 7:00 pm


The archiving of the past in images is symptomatic of a society that caters to a culture of forgetfulness and amnesia.

Nasri is a young filmmaker living in Beirut with his girlfriend Nada. He’s working on his latest feature film, The Last Portrait, set during the Lebanese civil war, but he feels that his reconstructed scenes look fake; he is unable to represent death. Despite researching photographic and video archives from the war, he is obsessed with the idea that there is an element of truth missing. Feeling at a loss, Nasri decides to go on a research trip to Cyprus. There, a buffer zone reminiscent of the one that divided East from West Beirut is still present; he thinks that situating himself where this kind of geopolitical tension is still explicit might help him with his film. But once he crosses the buffer zone to the Northern side, his initial purpose is forgotten. While walking in the port, he is approached by a stranger who offers to hire him to take one last portrait of a recently deceased old British expat aristocrat, “as such is our custom,” he says. Nasri accepts. Embarking on what is supposed to be a short trip, he finds himself wandering into a nightmarish journey in a Mediterranean landscape.

Roy Samaha is a Lebanese artist who lives and works in Beirut. With a background in film studies, he started making videos in 2001. Samaha’s work deals with reality and its double, history, and the memory of personal objects. Recent works include Residue (2014-17), Revenant (2017), and Landscape at Noon (2014-16). His work has been exhibited at the Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah); Planet 9, Kunsthalle Darmstadt (Darmstadt), MIDAD, Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture, (Beirut) and Homeworks 9, Sursock Museum (Beirut).

This intervention is part of the public program of the exhibition Five Hitchcock Films As You’ve Never Seen Them Before by Jalal Toufic.