Arab Western tackles honour crimes

Euromed Audiovisual spoke to Jean-Claude Codsi, whose film A Man of Honour premiered yesterday in Beirut


Murder to save the family's honour. A custom still prevalent in the Middle East, where in some tribes, a young woman suspected of having lost her virginity before her wedding night sullies her family's honour and must be eliminated, usually by her brother or her father.

In Jean-Claude Codsi's latest film, A Man of Honour, Brahim saves a young woman by killing her executor. Eighteen years later, after bumping into her unexpectedly, he returns home to face his tumultous past, in a film that stars Majdi Machmouchi, Caroline Hatem, Mahmoud Said, Chadi Haddad, and Bernadette Hodeib. 

Euromed Audiovisual spoke to director. 

"I wanted this film, that first and foremost targets an Arab and Oriental audience, to be easily accessible," Codsi told. "This is why I opted for a classic linear narrative structure."

"As I was moving forward in the writing process, it seemed to me that I was drifting towards what we in Arabic ironically call a drama 'aneef, a 'violent or strong drama'. We describe as such the flamboyant Egyptian melodramas of the heydays. I don't deny this connection with what forms a part of our Arab cinematic heritage. In our heritage, we also have - and here we are talking about television series - Bedouin dramas, a genre in which Jordan especially shined. These are historical dramas set in Arab civilization's glorious era, where the values praised were courage, honour, and courtly love. A Man of Honour relates to this too, except that the drama is contemporary, not historical. Sound engineer Manu Zouki told me when he read the script that he saw a sort of Arab Western in it, which I did not dislike. Together with my cinematographer Michael Lagerwey, we finally adopted a scope format with a lot of landscape, characteristics of the American Western. Toufic Farroukh¹s music further emphasized this choice."

A Man of Honour was supported by the Euromed Audiovisual II programme during its development phase. The film producer, Michel Ghosn, and the director attended a development programme consisting of three 7-day workshops over the course of a year, where both discussed their project with expert screenwriters and producers.

"The film was partly made thanks to the Euromed Audiovisual programme for the development of film projects in Marrakesh, where my producer Michel Ghosn and I stayed three times, one week at a time, to discuss our projects with expert screenwriters and producers," said Codsi.


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