BEIRUT: The Lebanese short film Tenzikir Wma Tena’ad steps into the Lebanese cinema as a breaking point to an aggregate of drug addicts who are normally left on the margin of life.
“The main purpose behind the film is to spread awareness regarding rehabilitation for drug addicts, a reason why I insisted to shoot at Im-Nur Association,” said the Producer and Director Makram Al-Rayes. “I wanted to prove that this association is a place for recovery and not a prison where policemen or security officers exist to ban patients from enjoying their freedom.”
The film was funded and executively produced by Jarir Printing Company, and J production, produced and directed by Makram Al-Rayes, and existed as a collaboration between Im-Nur Association and Delta Association.
The short film recounts the tale of an addicted Lebanese male adult aiming to simulate the reality of his addiction and excruciation after being trapped in the scourge of habituation. The director ensured to embrace the pragmatic and agonizing of the addicted man as well as the brawny perseverance he had to scrap his destructive desire for addiction while seeking treatment at the rehabilitating center.
“We wanted to emphasize to those who are suffering from this type of addiction that they still can recover and obtain a new opportunity in life. At the same time, we advise those who haven’t had this bad and addictive experience to refrain from consuming drugs because getting rid of this scourge is a long and painful process on its own,” added Al-Rayes.
According to the collaborators, Im-Nur Association is one of the most efficient rehabilitation centers for drug addiction in Lebanon. In fact, the association has two in-patient rehabilitation centers in two distinct regions. The first one is based in Sehayleh and dedicated to men with a capacity to accommodate seventy-two patients, while the second one is based in Fatka and is devoted to supporting women with a capacity to accommodate thirty-six patients.
"Im-Nur is neither a prison nor a thorny fence, instead, it is a comfortable place that emits peaceful vibes and strengthens our faith about the upcoming future that we aim to reach without being under the mercy of addiction,” Al-Rayes told Annahar.
Throughout the film, the audience can track the transitional stages and events encountered by the addicted character: Starting from the moment he steps into Im-Nur Association, passing through the struggling times he faces to heal, reaching to the stage where he becomes totally sober.
Among all these stages comes a fundamental stage of self-acceptance and self-reliance in which the addicted client acknowledges his problem and strives to tackle it with the help of a previously addicted guardian who he gets matched with at the beginning.
“The guardian must behave as a supportive and inspiring friend until the newcomer recovers. The recovered individual becomes then an inspirational guardian for those who will join later on,” said Al-Rayes.
As for having Lebanese actors who can reconceive public social awareness in Lebanese films, Charles Hbeiliny was able to embody a majestic, unforgettable, and extravagantly produced character that fluctuated between fragile and gallant personalities.
“It’s not an easy job to play a sophisticated character that is not me because I’ll have a character study to do. Thus, being a stand-up comedian is much easier than playing the role of an addicted person. As a comedian, I can still express my natural self on stage,” mentioned Hbeiliny.
Nonetheless, Hbeiliny decided to get involved in this production because he has always been concerned about and interested in the topic.
“I was really curious about the character that I played; hence, I spent more time at Im-Nur observing its beneficiaries, following their rules, imitating their lifestyle, and feeling them,” Hbeiliny told Annahar. “It did change me as a person because I now adopted different approaches, embraced no judgments, and expressed more empathy when dealing with various addicted personalities.”
Despite all the challenges faced, Hbeiliny expressed that acting in this film was the best experience he has ever had in his entire life. For him, being surrounded by benign people at the center and having them doubting his real personality as a non-addicted person, made him realize several fundamental issues as well as touched his feelings making him more sensitive about the character.
Every actor has a favorite line of dialogue, and Hbeiliny’s one was “Heyye law bten2ada bi cigarette, ken kel shi tamem” (“if drugs was a none time thing, everything would’ve passed”).
The film is part of Jarir Printing Company and J production’s series of awareness videos. The company and its collaborators believe that promoting social awareness is a vital step toward change especially when it comes to health and mental health issues.
To watch the full film, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn6uNOZgkMU&feature=youtu.be
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