Pioneering Lebanese filmmaker Georges Nasser, died on Wednesday at age 92, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.
Nasser is credited as the first Lebanese filmmaker to have had his feature film “Ila Ayn” which garnered critical success to be picked up for Cannes Film Festival in 1957’s.
As a writer/director he was also the first Arab filmmaker to obtain a film degree from the US, traveling from his hometown Tripoli in north Lebanon, to California to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The Lebanese Civil War, which also erupted in 1975, cut short Nasser’s career, following some attempts to create a Lebanese film syndicate in a war-torn country, before taking a teaching position at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA).
In the 90s, Nasser worked on a feature film project presenting Late legendary Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, under the Arabic title: Lee Ouyon al-Nas but it failed to reach advance stages. Nasser is also known to have done in his late life many short documentaries for the Lebanese Army institution.
The 60th anniversary of Nasser’s work inspired several local actors, led by Abbout Productions, to undertake a digital restoration of the original 35 mm print. Cannes screened the restored version at its 2017 edition as part of its Cannes Classics program.
The restored print of Ila Ayn? returned home in January 2018, where it was projected at Metropolis Cinema-Sofil alongside Badih Massaad and Antoine Waked’s hourlong 2017 documentary A Certain Nasser. The doc centers on Nasser’s own recollections of the filmmaking culture of the country and the region during his long career, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.
Nasser’s funeral will be held on Thursday, in his home town Tripoli.