Written 6 years ago, “The Sea Ahead” depicts a Lebanon very much as it is today: restless. Loosely based on Lebanese director Ely Dagher’s own experiences, the movie revolves around immigration and identity, packed with the struggle of coming back to Lebanon after living abroad.
What better time to explore those themes than during the thawra? The uprising that was born on October 17, 2019, was followed by further economic collapse, political unrest, and overall instability, and pushed many people to leave.
At the same time, with no more access to funds that got stuck in the Lebanese banking system, some people -especially students- had no choice but to return and abandon the lives they made abroad.
“The Sea Ahead” is a drama film that centers around Jana (played by Manal Issa) as she returns to Beirut after living abroad for several years. It explores the perspective of the returnee and her re-introduction to her home country and the restless city of Beirut.
The film’s synopsis reads: “A young woman makes her way back home to her parents’ house in the middle of the night, leaving a bad experience behind. Haunting pressures to fit back into the family dynamics as well as revealing details of her life abroad weigh heavy on her. Feeling cornered, her anxieties resurface, leading her to find solace in another part of her Beirut life that she had forsaken. A life that is for her as familiar and foreign now as it ever was.”