The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus

A film by Mireille Kassar.
Silent. 16min. 2014. France/Lebanon.

Still from The Children of Uzai, AntiNarcissus. A film by Mireille Kassar. Berlinale Forum Expanded 2015. Energy for Creativity, Expo Milano 2015. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. |

Collection Centre Pompidou

Mireille Kassar's The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus has been acquired by the Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris, along with a series of paintings by Mireille Kassar.

"Nel Mezzo Del Mezzo" at Museo Riso, Palermo

The exhibition Nel Mezzo Del Mezzo (In the Middle of the Middle), on view from 10 October to 30 November, 2015, at the Museo Riso in Palermo, Italy, features Mireille Kassar's paintings and film The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus. An exhibition curated by Christine Macel (Centre Georges Pompidou), Bartomeu Mari (MACBA) and Marco Bazzini (Historian).

"HEARTLAND - Territoire d’Affects" at Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon

Mireille Kassar's Film The Children of Uzai, AntiNarcissus is on display from 24 October – 29 November 2015 at the Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon. A group show reuniting internationally based Lebanese artists in Lebanon - curated by Joanna Chevalier.


"Video Box" @ Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus was featured in Video Box, the monthly series of art films and videos at the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart from 04-30 August, 2015. The film was part of an ongoing program titled "Silent" Cinema, which explores the affective impact of works that dispense with sound entirely.

Program Flyer (pdf).


New Horizons International Film Festival

The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus was screened in the program European Short Films set 1 at the New Horizons Festival in Wroclaw, Poland on 24 July, 2015.

Festival Website.

"Energy for Creativity" exhibition, Università degli Studi Milan

The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus was included in the Camera Chiara installation staged for the Interni - "Energy for Creativity" exhibition at the Università degli Studi in Milan. The installation consisted of two pavilions, "Liwan" and "Obscura", designed by the architect Anabelle Karim Kassar.
In the quiet Obscura Pavilion, films about human stories, make up processes and craftsmanship were shown, amongst them "The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus" and "Cathedrals of Culture" by Wim Wenders.

Università degli Studi di Milano – Ca’ Granda ex Ospedale Maggiore Cortile 700
13 April – 24 May, 2015

Berlinale Forum Expanded 2015

Mireille Kassar's The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus premiered in the Forum Expanded section of the Berlin International Film Festival, 5-15 February 2015.
Venue: Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10.

Festival Website.


Mireille Kassar films a group of children in Uzaï, a suburb in Southern Beirut. She films a fleeting instant. She captures a permanent moment. The children play amongst the waves. They leap above commonplaces, above ominous shadows and above their own reflections. They free themselves from every attachment and evade every threat. They are bodies rebelling against geopolitics, against all the reflections that usually box them in.
Mireille Kassar’s work follows them as they cut themselves loose with each leap, each sprint.

The film is an elegy. It is made out of every step the children of Uzaï take as they travel this territory until becoming one with it. Until they forge the joyful bond with the elements that constitutes their freedom.

It is about discovering, feeling with and beyond the children of Uzaï. About capturing moments that have already run aground, moved by the sheer force of the images.

It is a prayer. These glorious bodies have to keep on running. The sensation that is with them has to protect them. Maybe we will die of being too alive, but who knows? We will live. We will leap above it all. We will not fall in love with our own image. We will escape the narcissism of the mirror. The sensation will live on.

The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus is a 16-minute silent film. In a furtive motion, the piece evolves into the same territories as the landscapes painted by Mireille Kassar.

In every instance, it is about mustering sensation and experience, regardless of the prerequisites, and sailing upstream, while accepting that both sensation and experience are always already slipping away.

The children of Uzaï run eternally into the sea, disappearing just when we are about to pin them down.
The trouble in identifying them is the condition for their miraculous revelation.

biography mireille kassar

Born in Zahle-Bequaa, Lebanon, Mireille Kassar lives and works in Paris and Beirut. Her rich and varied body of work spans painting, drawing, sound, film, writing and installation.

Kassar has been exhibiting internationally since 1996. She is currently represented by Agial Art Gallery in Lebanon, where she exhibited the project "Mantek al Tayr / The Conference of the Birds" in 2013. Her work is held by some of the most renowned collections worldwide, including the permanent collections at the National Center of Art and Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris and the British Museum of London.

She treats her work as an expanded state of consciousness, frequently operating beyond or beneath language. It can be percieved as a re-adjustment of the sensorial experience, shifting away from discursive thought toward primal cognitive sensation, an archetype of sorts.

Her artistic and spiritual pursuit leads her to close encounters with individuals, beings and lands, whose very geographical or cultural remoteness are the pledge of a singular proximity. Distance, proximity, dispersion and time unfolding, be it cyclical, linear or otherwise, are the parameters, the constants and the driving forces of her life's work.

Mantek Al Tayr is inspired by the book by Jalal Din Attar.

about the filmmaking

The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus was shot in the Spring of 2013 by Mireille Kassar in Uzaï, a suburb in Southern Beirut.

In it, we observe a group of children going by. Sometimes focusing on the lone figure of a kid, sometimes on the whole lot of them; we see them play, dive in the sea, swim, stand still, go elsewhere.

An extensive editing and calibrating period stemmed from these images shot on the spot. It was about intersecting the singular and hard-lined/driven eye of the painter with the preoccupations of the always evolving photographer and filmmaker. Working the images and their specificities until the emergence of a singular form : a cinematographic timeline, a brave elegy, the revelation of a timeless heterotopia.

The film can be watched by itself. It can also exist as part of an installation. Other films, other editings, installations and grand tapestries will accompany it and establish a dialogue. Here, it’s about revealing a world, installing the images of territories that no one has ever filmed that way before. Mardine, the amazonian jungle, the potlachs, a Native American tribe, the territories of Etel Adnam’s poetry, Arnaldo Calveyra’s literature, Jean-François Duffau’s erudition, or even the vanished silhouettes of the Oliveto’s elderly, a small Italian village (a piece done in association with Dominique Lacloche). For Mireille Kassar, filming and editing is about letting the offscreen elements of a fragile, dense and demanding world spring out, a world constantly moved by a yearning for freedom, and the quest to free itself from all notions of time.


The Children of Uzaï, AntiNarcissus
A film by Mireille Kassar.

Edited by Benjamin Cataliotti

Visual Effects by Léo Ghigo and Unaï Rosende
Color Grading by Belal Hibri, Unaï Rosende, Jorge Piquer Rodriguez and Yannig Willmann
Post Production Coordination by Michel Balagué

With the support of Mengamuk Films


Mireille Kassar is currently represented by Agial Art Gallery: