A gently paced romance, Abbas Fahdel’s YARA captures the elation of first love and the crushing pain of its loss. Yara lives alone with her grandmother on a remote Lebanese mountainside. Hers is a world disconnected from modern civilization, where the perpetual rustling of leaves, changing of light and intermittent tableaux of insects and animals — alternately observant and indifferent — is backdrop to a vibrant existence, despite limited human interaction. A neighboring farmer brings supplies, a tour guide assists with odd tasks and, lost on a hike, a charismatic young hiker happens upon Yara hanging her underwear. As his visits become more frequent, the young couple resolves to keep their chaste affair hidden. Imbued with new menace, the outside world begins to encroach. – Malin Kan
Born in Babylon, Iraq, Abbas Fahdel studied cinema in France, notably under the direction of Eric Rohmer, Jean Rouch and Serge Daney. He directed three documentaries, including the award-winning HOMELAND: IRAQ YEAR ZERO, and two feature films, DAWN OF THE WORD and YARA.