The Tower @ Imaginaria 2019

At Imaginaria, the first feature film by the Norwegian Mats Grorud, which tells the story of a family in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon with intelligence and tenderness.

“Al-Nakb”, also called “The Catastrophe”. When the State of Israel was founded on May 15, 1948, two-thirds of the Palestinian population was expelled from their ancestral homes, an event still current seventy years later, since some refugee camps born at that time still exist. That of Bourj el Barajneh, in Beirut, Lebanon, inspired the Norwegian character of the Tower, presented as a world premiere out of competition at the 42nd Annecy International Animation Film Festival. A historical and geopolitical context linked to the conflict that has been poisoning everyday life in the Middle East for decades, which is obviously the director’s first feature film, but which the author has been able to treat with sufficient delicacy and humanity to avoid the burden of war propaganda, preferring to weave an emotional thread that connects the generations and underline the value of transmission.

The Tower is an exciting history lesson, one-way, of course, but that poses the question of the cruel condition of these eternal refugees with great acumen. A theme that the film analyzes with skill with flashbacks and some archival images (the script is the work of the director with Trygve Allister Diesen and Ståle Stein Berg), intelligently maintaining his route focused on the affective relationship between Wardi and Sidi. An approach packaged in a controlled and expressive animation that combines puppets and 2D, and allows us to propose a particularly adult theme, at least on paper, to an audience of children (the age of the protagonist), a rather remarkable enterprise in itself , and which conveys, beyond political partisanship, strong humanistic values ​​(“whatever the depth of the dark, always try to find the smallest ray of light”).

The director Mats Grorud will be present during the screening.

Wardi is an eleven-year-old girl, very curious and cheerful, who lives in a camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Her grandfather Sidi has decided to sacrifice himself to guarantee a future for her and all her family. This gesture of love and courage leads Wardi to ask himself many questions about his life and the history of his people. Is there hope for the future? Will there ever be a chance to live a normal existence?