Here I Am… Here You Are
Directed by Raed Rafei
The second feature by multimedia journalist Raed Rafei, HERE I AM… HERE YOU ARE (ECCOMI… ECCOTI) is a master class exercise in essayistic documentary form. With a lyrical, ambient soundscape set atop a dreamy, atmospheric visual style that oscillates between still photography and moving images, Rafei explores not only what it means to be gay in contemporary Beirut, but the aches of psychic pain that blocks one from reaching a sense of “complete-ness” with one’s self, much less the other. Does such in-completeness have to do, in particular, with being gay in Beirut? Or is it related to a grander malaise endemic to the human condition (at large)? By taking his long-distance relationship with his Italian partner as a starting point, alongside Pier Paolo Pasolini as a travelling buddy, Rafei treks the muddied depths of what has been left in the wake of postmodernity.
Raed Rafei is a Beirut-based Lebanese filmmaker and multimedia journalist. For over ten years, he has worked as a reporter covering political, social, and economic issues related to Lebanon and the Middle East for local and international publications. In 2012, he co-wrote and co-directed, with Rania Rafei, his first feature, 74 (THE RECONSTITUTION OF A STRUGGLE), a hybrid documentary about the 1974 student occupation of the American University of Beirut. The film was released in July 2012 at the FID Marseille Film Festival where it received a national prize. It has since been showed at many international film festivals and received several awards. HERE I AM… HERE YOU ARE is his second feature film. Currently, Rafei is working on his PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz in film and digital media.