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SCREENING: The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud

The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud

*Film Synopsis*: The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud is a 72-minute
experimental non-fiction film about a working-class suburb of Beirut,
Lebanon, called Bourj Hammoud, made as a collaboration between
anthropologist and filmmaker Joanne Nucho and Lebanese artist Rosy
Kuftedjian. The neighborhood has always long been a hub for migration; it
was urbanized in the 1930s to permanently settle Armenian refugees of the
1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire and subsequent decades brought waves of
rural to urban migration from elsewhere in Lebanon. Today, it remains a
diverse district that is also home to migrants and displaced people from
Syria and elsewhere. Filmed over a period of seven years (2008-2015), the
film examines the residents' overlapping histories of displacement through
how they explain and sketch the urban space of the neighborhood.
Participants were asked to draw a visual representation of the neighborhood
that reflects something that has changed over time, or about something that
is meaningful to them about the neighborhood. These maps shape the
narrative of the film, which is anchored in the city’s constantly shifting
infrastructures. "The Narrow Streets" reveals how different people
experience rootedness and displacement through the changing built
environment of the city. The result is a lyrical ethnographic reflection on
history and the materiality of urban space narrated by longtime residents
and recent arrivals to Bourj Hammoud. The project received generous support
from the Wenner Gren Foundation.


*Joanne Randa Nucho* is an anthropologist and a filmmaker and is currently
a Mellon Chau Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at Pomona College. She
earned her PhD at the University of California, Irvine in 2013 and holds a
BFA in Film Production from NYU. Her book Everyday Sectarianism in Urban
Lebanon: Infrastructure, Public Services and Power was published by
Princeton University Press in 2016. Her films have shown in international
contexts, including the London International Documentary Film Festival in

*Rosy Kuftedjian* is a Lebanese artist, photographer and social activist.
In Lebanon, she worked closely with documentary film director and activist
Zeina Daccache to put on a theatrical performance with inmates at Roumieh
prison. She was also involved in prison reform and advocacy work. She is
currently based in Montreal, Canada.