Paul Baboudjian Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: When a loved one suddenly disappears and reappears many years later, it creates a gnawing void that was explored by members of the audience during a special screening of the acclaimed Lebanese film, Chatti Ya Dini (Here Comes the Rain).

The sold-out screening was organised by the Lebanese Business Council and it took place yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Theatre. Among the attendees were the film's director Bahij Hojeij, actress Julia Kassar, actor Hassan Mrad and its producer Paul Baboudjian.

"This is not the first time we screened Chatti Ya Dini in the UAE and I'm amazed by just how much interest is generated whenever we announce a screening of it here… especially from foreigners who had told me that they want to know more about Lebanon and this part of our history," Baboudjian said. "The film is important for us because it continues to raise awareness and highlight the plight of prisoners taken during the civil war and the struggles their families face, not knowing if they are alive and if they return, how to cope and adapt to the situation," he added.

Repeating cycle

Chatti Ya Dini, which won the Black Pearl Award for Best Narrative feature film from the Arab world at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, is Hojeij's depiction of the kidnappings that took place during the Lebanese civil war.

The protagonist Ramez wins his freedom but struggles to re-connect with his family and re-integrate into a society that is vastly different than the one he left behind 20 years ago.

"While our film explores the consequences for those kidnapped during the civil war and the impact it had on those left behind, especially family members… while these incidents are unfortunately common in many countries in the region, the cycle seems to be repeating itself and even escalating in countries such as Egypt and Libya, with people disappearing during protests… from a humanitarian point of view, it's unfair that this is happening again because it's causing a lot of additional suffering," Baboudjian said.

  • Here Comes the Rain will be screened at the ADFF @ The Pavilion Downtown Dubai on June 3 and 4.
  • For additional information, please visit www.pavilion.ae or www.abudhabifilmfestival.ae