Lebanese helmer Danielle Arbid has secured a Cannes berth in the Directors Fortnight with her sophomore feature “A Lost Man.” Pic tells the story of Fouad Saleh, a man who disappeared from Beirut 17 years ago never to return. He crosses paths with Thomas Kore, a French photographer who travels the world to research extreme experiences. British-Sudanese thesp Alexander Siddig plays Saleh, while French thesp Melvil Poupaud essays Kore.
Low budget pic, reputedly around the $1.5 million mark, is heavily influenced by the work of French photographer Antoine D’Agata, who also served as Arbid’s set consultant. Pic will screen on the Croisette May 18. Arbid lensed the project in Beirut, Jordan and France.
Although the Lebanon shoot took place in January this year while the country was still reeling from its month-long war with Israel last summer and continued political turmoil in the country, Arbid was keen for her native country’s strife not to affect the film. “This isn’t a political film at all. It’s a hybrid film. It’s about sexuality, it’s about two people who are lost and it’s about men and women,” says Arbid. “You feel the tension while you’re in Beirut. It was as if you’re doing something that is separate from reality.”
French shingle MK2 put up all the coin and will be handling the pic’s international sales as well as releasing it themselves in France.
Arbid is the second Lebanese femme to get the nod from Directors Fortnight. Nadine Labaki will also bow her debut feature “Caramel” — set in a Beirut salon — on March 20.