Nasser, who was described as the “father of the Lebanese cinema”, directed a film called “Ila Ayn” (Towards the Unknown) which was the first Lebanese film selected for the Cannes Film Festival. As well as a second movie called “The Small Stranger” (Le Petit Étranger) which was also selected for Cannes in 1962.
Nasser was born in Tripoli in 1927. As a child he had a huge passion for watching movies, he used to watch around 8 movies per week. His love for movies and cinema urged him to study cinema at UCLA in Hollywood and was the first Lebanese filmmaker to earn a film degree from the US. Nasser returned to Lebanon deciding to kick start his career in his country.
In 1957, he directed “Ila Ayn” (Towards the Unknown) and in 1962 “The Little Stranger” which were both selected for the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Al Matloub Rajol Wahid” (A Man is needed) was his third film which was shot in 1975 in Syria.
Unfortunately, the Lebanese civil war stopped Nasser’s filmmaking career. Despite that, he insisted on never leaving the country and worked as a production manager on a few foreign films, such as Volker Schlöndorff’s Circle of Deceit. He continued to write and search for funding opportunities for his screenplays but with no results.
Afterward, Nasser became a teacher at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA). In 2017, a documentary was made about his life and his first film Ila Ayn and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on its 60th anniversary.
January 2018 marked the return of the restored print of “Ila Ayn?” to Lebanon where it was projected at Metropolis Cinema-Sofil.
Proudly, Nasser produced 40 short films dedicated to the Lebanese Army. Nasser’s funeral was held last week at St. Maroun Church in his hometown Tripoli.
George Nasser really loved Lebanon and Lebanon surely loves him back!