Room for a Man
“I think it’s the loneliness that I have filmed.” Anthony Chidiac trains his camera on the intimate details of his mother’s home: the textured wallpaper, the gilded mirrors, the woven rugs, the ever-vigilant Doberman. Their Beirut apartment is Chidiac’s refuge, but it is also a cage. When his bedroom undergoes a renovation, he uses the opportunity to explore his own identity within the confines of the apartment.
Much to his mother’s dismay, Syrian construction workers arrive to do the remodeling. As they peel away at the walls, Chidiac engages them in a game of questions, searching for answers of his own about nationality and masculinity. A tense Skype call with his uncle underlines the disdain with which Chidiac’s homosexuality is treated in Lebanon and by his family. His uncle suggests he move away. His mother keeps the Doberman because she does not have a man around to protect her, even though Chidiac is there. Eventually Chidiac reaches out to his estranged father, in search of not only a renewed Argentine passport he once had as a child, but also acceptance.
Room for a Man is at once confessional and universal. Chidiac’s belief that “societies divide us, and cinema will reunite us” is evident in the care with which he frames his shots, the way he addresses his subjects, and the film’s lingering silences. Calling to mind the works of cinematic vanguards Chris Marker and Chantal Akerman, Room for a Man is an assured and beautiful debut.
— ELLIOTT BREEDEN
- Language: In Arabic and French with English subtitles. ASL interpreter present
- Premiere Status: US