Films & Schedules

  • Je Veux Voir
    I Want to See

  • Joana Hadjithomas

  • Khalil Joreige

French, Arabic, English
75 minutes

Production Company:
Mille et une productions/Backup Films/COFICUP 2
Executive Producer:
Edouard Mauriat, Anne-Cécile Berthomeau, Farès Ladjimi
Georges Schoucair, Tony Arnoux
Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
Julien Hirsch
Enrica Gattolini
Guillaume Le Braz, Sylvain Malbrant, Emmanuel Croset
Scrambled Eggs
Principal Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Rabih Mroué

International Sales Agent:
Films Boutique

Preceded by:


Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
South Korea/France, 2008

Sunday September 0706:45PM AMC 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1006:45PM VARSITY 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1102:00PM AMC 3 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

“We no longer know what to write, what stories to recount, what images to show. We ask ourselves: ‘What can cinema do?'”

That was the reaction of Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in July 2006, when war again broke out in Lebanon. So what could cinema do? It could film the asking of that very question. Hadjithomas and Joreige invited an icon of cinema, Catherine Deneuve, to visit Lebanon and see for herself what war had wrought. Her guide would be Rabih Mroué, a Lebanese actor and a perfect foil to Deneuve – every bit as enigmatic and strong-willed, especially about his country.

In an unusual mix of scripted scenes, documentary footage and improvised travelogue, Mroué drives Deneuve from her five-star hotel through the shattered concrete and twisted metal of Beirut's bombed buildings. As they proceed to the even more ravaged south Lebanon, Deneuve bears witness to another nation's tragedy, one bump in the road at a time. The result is heartbreaking, as the power of cinema never seems quite up to the task of shrouding the sadness of the situation in its magic. Yet there is a great deal of humour and tenderness here, as well, particularly as Deneuve – famously unapproachable – warms to her hosts.

Je veux voir is the third film from this dynamic pair, and serves as a poignant counterpoint to their earlier work, A Perfect Day. In that much-celebrated film, they painstakingly tried to introduce characters who were finding their way to a normal life after a surreal, ghostly existence amid perpetual civil war. The shattering effect of the 2006 Israeli invasion may have hindered the filmmakers' belief in narrative cinema, but it has not dulled their inspiring humanist view of our world.

Je veux voir is preceded by the short film Expectations, which was commissioned for the Jeonju Digital Project at South Korea's Jeonju International Film Festival. Expectations is an austere, compact African tragedy. Fleeing his debts, Moussa (Youssouf Djaoro, from Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Daratt) attempts to cross a vast desert. But when the desert defeats him, his village offers little comfort.

Cameron Bailey

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige were born in Beirut and work together as visual artists and filmmakers. They wrote and directed the short films Ashes (03) and Open the Door (06), and have created several documentaries and photo installations. Their features are Autour de la maison rose (99), A Perfect Day (06) and Je veux voir (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award