The Lebanese film Memory Box (دفاتر مايا) is Lebanon’s official entry to the 2023 Oscars for the Best International Feature Film.
“With the necessary support and marketing, this film will make a new achievement for Lebanon,” expressed the Lebanese Caretaker Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada via Twitter.
Directed by the Beirut-born Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Memory Box is a Canadian, Lebanese, and French drama movie.
The film first had its worldwide premiere at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival, where it was the first Lebanese film to be nominated for the Golden Bear top prize.
Memory Box starts in Montreal where Alex (Paloma Vauthier) lives with her mother Maia (Rim Turki) and grandmother Teta (Clemence Sabbagh).
On one Christmas Eve, a box containing notebooks, cassette tapes, and photographs arrives from France, all memorabilia that Maia sent from Beirut to her friend Liza in Paris during the Lebanese civil war.
Trying to hide painful memories and secrets, the mother and grandmother forbid Alex from looking at the box’s contents.
However, she dives in and learns in a series of flashbacks about her mother’s teenage self, as she got obsessed with guys and her looks and how she partied despite the constant bombings and militia-run checkpoints.
The script is written by Gaëlle Macé, Joana Hadjithomas, and Khalil Joreige, and the cast includes Rim Turki, Manal Issa, Paloma Vauthier, Clemence Sabbagh, and Hassan Akil, and was produced by Abbout Production.
Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas, whose most letters and mixtapes featured in the film are hers, have produced several awarded movies, such as The Lebanese Rocket Society and Khiam, I Want To See, among others.
Here is the trailer:
Related: Meet The Directors Behind Lebanon’s First Film In The Berlin International Film Festival In 4 Decades