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Pine Nuts (Kran Film Collective)

Kran Film Collective

Pine Nuts

16mm, (screened by DVD or Beta) 20 min, 2008/ Language: English/Subtitle: Arab, French and Danish

Interview with Lasse Lau from CYPRUS INT’L FILM FESTIVAL CYIFF 2011

“Once there was a forest. Then the forest became a city and the remains became a park. The city started a war and with time its park became imaginary” So begins Lasse Lau’s Pine Nuts. Horsh Beirut is a major “public” park that has been closed to citizens for the almost 20 years since the end of civil conflict. This video explores what remains and what reemerges when an urban green space empties of bodies. In the video, Lau contrasts calm, even bucolic, shots of the overgrown and empty park with a myriad of voices recounting stories of what the park once was. Through voices of the Lebanese diaspora, stories of leisure and violence unfold over shots of an orderly park gone feral. These shots are so subtle as to appear still. Without people to disrupt the scenes, the only hint that we are watching moving images is the play of wind in the strangely overgrown trees. Politics and the violence of the past are made intensely personal and spatial in Pine Nuts.


“Pine Nuts” is comprised of a series of nicely framed images of the Beirut Pine Forest, or rather the entity that the French government has ornately replanted in an effort to recreate the forest that the Civil War destroyed. In one of those ironies that seem unique to Beirut, this public park is still not open to the public – nearly 20 years after the war was ended. Lau’s premise is that the pine forest is a sort of synecdoche for the city as a whole.

Lau’s vistas are so calm that, were it not for the occasional breezes that stir the trees, they might be still images. The pines provide a frame into which are related a number of anecdotes about the forest, and Beirut, as related by expatriate Beirutis. Though it seems to work better as a self-contained piece of art, “Pine Nuts” is little less effective than Alys’ piece in capturing the range of thought on the space in question.

Jim Quilty, The Daily Star, Lebanon, August 21, 2009

“Another highlight was “Pine Nuts” by Danish artist Lasse Lau. The film looks at the history of Horch Al-Sanawbar, an ‘invented’ park in Beirut and explores its social and historical importance through the eyes of Lebanese immigrants living in the United States. The approach taken by this film showed the possibilities that short film opens up on terms of scale: a subject such as the park could make a great feature-length film but becomes a charming vignette when kept in short form.”

Caroline Curran, The Daily News, Egypt, October 14, 2010

Interview with Lasse Lau from CYPRUS INT\’L FILM FESTIVAL CYIFF 2011