Private Project

On ne cache pas le soleil avec un doigt ! Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Refugees Welcome
A 6-hour film in 5 chapters.
A film on the struggle of undocumented immigrants in Paris in 1996 (les Sans Papiers de Saint-Bernard) and today, social and political struggles on the ground, labor strife, the conditions of refugees and the undocumented, the city itself, its public spaces, the inclusion/exclusion of its inhabitants.
An epic 6 hour 5-part documentary unfurling the hopes and dreams of the struggle against immigration control 20 years ago and today, through the prism of memories, those of the filmmaker who was a militant involved in that struggle in 96, and her comrades who surface through archival material against the backdrop of Paris today.
A meditation on the city, with its rivers and trains portrayed as veins and blood running throughout, its inhabitants a vital part of that body, appearing in reflections on its multiple surfaces, mirrored, shadowed, anonymous and one.

  • May Kassem
  • Runtime:
    54 minutes 12 seconds
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - May Kassem

Born in Beirut in 1975, May Kassem is a filmmaker, screenwriter and teacher, who has made 16mm films, videos, documentaries, and animated films.

Her work has focused on the impact of art on society (Organized Freedom is Compulsory – 1994 / Pre-revolutionary art is the Art of the Revolution - 1996), as well as the marginalization of segments of urban populations such as migrant Syrian construction workers in Lebanon (Joker -1998), and the plight of undocumented immigrants in Paris (Qui écrira l'histoire – 1996). In 2016, she completed a documentary "Nourhane, a child's dream" on Nourhane, a once famous singer and actress from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, who suddenly quit and remained silent about her past, and who is also May's grandmother.

In 2016 as well, she filmed from within the social and political struggles, which resulted in two film "Reverse-Shot: Diary of a Struggle" (27min) what she describes with some humor as a propaganda film, and "Free Waves" (70 min - 2017) which leans more towards the poetic. Artist residencies in Paris followed leading to her first feature fiction film in which she acts as well "Winter Ballad" (102min - 2019) and a documentary that deals with the struggle of the undocumented immigrants in Paris, 20 years ago and today. The 6-hour documentary essay "On ne cache pas le soleil avec un doigt !" is exposed in 5 chapters, and reminisces over the history and legacy of the struggle for a world without immigration control, through personal and collective memory, against the backdrop of an evolving urban landscape, that of Paris today.

May presents three music programs on 96.2 FM Radio Liban « Poivre Noir, Piment Rouge » & "Vendredi Vibrations"(world music) as well as « Champ Sonore » (electronic, contemporary music, and sound-scapes). She teaches Screenwriting and works as a script-doctor. May lives in Beirut. For the time being.

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