November 11, 2014
George Mason University
Presented by the Middle East Studies Program, Arab Studies Institute, and Middle Etc. Film Club
Eliane Raheb, director
Through the stories of Assaad Shaftari, a former high ranking intelligence officer in a Christian right wing militia, responsible for many casualties in the protracted civil war in Lebanon and Maryam Saiidi, the mother of Maher, a missing young communist fighter who disappeared in 1982, the film digs in the war wounds and asks if redemption and forgiveness are possible.
Ranked as Top 5th among the best documentaries of 2013, by the Sight and sound magazine
“Director Eliane Raheb pulls no punches in her incisive, explosive debut, which also takes stabs at Lebanese bureaucracy and outsider forgiveness movements. By instigating jaw-dropping confrontations, Raheb reveals a damaged nation that refuses to examine the source of its pain. While Sleepless Nights is built around messy emotions and tumultuous friction, it’s photographed and edited with artistry and precision. It is a confounding triumph of political art, investigative journalism and confrontational cinema.” Columbia Daily Tribune
“Playful and aggressive, elegant and confrontational, sardonic and melancholic, the dense film looks at the legacy of Lebanon’s sectarian civil war (1975-1990) through its discontents.” Filmcomment- Nicholas Rapold
“The best new documentary at True/False was Sleepless Nights, a wrenching, narratively and thematically dense dual portrait of two people struggling to reconcile their experiences during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s.Sleepless Nights is a bold documentary that asks difficult questions about the process of truth and reconciliation in a country still divided among religious and political lines, but it’s also an example of a filmmaker trying to think and work in images.” POV magazine-Adam Nayman
Forum on Muslim and Arab Affairs
FAMA is the research arm of the Arab Studies Institute.