A Feeling Greater Than Love

A Feeling Greater Than Love

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 8:00pm
Mary Jirmanus Saba | 
Lebanon |
 2017 | 
93 minutes


In the early 1970s, two bloody uprisings at tobacco and chocolate factories in Lebanon held the promise of popular revolution and women’s emancipation. But when the Lebanese civil war erupted only a couple of years later, the cultural significance of the women and workers’ movement was wiped clean from the country’s collective memory.

In her directorial debut, Mary Jirmanus Saba sheds light on this little-known piece of Middle Eastern labour history using a collage of contemporary interviews, rare archival footage captured by activists, as well as clips from agitprop films. The story spontaneously unfolds from the testimonials of the former workers themselves. Re-united for a group interview, the former-revolutionaries ruminate on the politics and ideology of the time, and describe facing bullets to defend their movement. Stories of solidarity between the labourers and the women activists offer lessons for future movements, while present-day interviews with farmers explain how little has changed over forty years. With its roaming discursive cinematography, A Feeling Greater Than Love plays more like a sensorial investigation than a textbook narrative. In one striking sequence, Saba highlights footage of one of the factories, captured in an militant film from the time. A jump cut reveals that the Mall of Beirut currently occupies the same location. It’s moments like this that beg the question: How can the past transform the present? -SC


Mary Jirmanus Saba

Director & Producer Mary Jirmanus Saba is a filmmaker and geographer based in Beirut. From 2006-2008 she produced the weekly community broadcast television program ‘Via Comunidad’ with collective Vientos del Sur in Ibarra, Ecuador. She holds a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard College, and an M.A. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a participant in Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace. “A Feeling Greater Than Love” is her first full-length, feature film.