Online catalogue / Fritz Ofner :

Beirut Blend
Beirut Blend
AT / 2012
28 min.

“Blend” is the cut of a type of tobacco that glistens at six places in Beirut under the glowing stone of the water pipe at the film’s center. “Blend” also means “mingling,” to “mix,” resulting in a “mélange.” And this is precisely what happens in thirty minutes of low-key black-and-white compositions in which those portrayed talk about the need for daily sports and also about Gaddafi’s fortune, Arab spring, the Middle-East conflict, and gender relations in supposedly post-modern societies.

Blending in Fritz Ofner’s film is the personal and the political, the anecdotal and the concrete, the proclamation of opinion and the presence of material sites. In doing so, the film itself takes on the form of relaxed tobacco consumption; breathing in with every conversation fragmentary thoughts of the people of Beirut in spring 2011, to then casually exhale in between pillow shots of the city, reminiscent of Ozu Yasujirō.

The mutual smoking of the shisha is merely a premise that people need to get together says one man leaning back relaxed, exhaling the cool smoke. The mouthpiece of the water pipe does actually become a microphone that one speaks into to share with the world and one’s vis-à-vis. And just as this mouthpiece functions as a medium between the people who gather in diverse constellations for this ritual in the film, the ritual becomes a medium between us and them. We wait for the mouthpiece to be passed on to us, for the exhaled smoke to emerge before the camera, thereby making us a part of this conversation. Clearly visible as homage to Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, Beirut Blend is, beyond the ritual and quotable elements, quite simply also a documentation of contemporary history—of things, opinions, moments, and a very special way of proclaiming through the medium of the shisha.

(Alejandro Bachmann)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Sometimes a cigarette break is all it takes. A break from the troubles of daily life. Just a little break. Pretending that for once the world could stop spinning allowing us to catch our breath again. Beirut Blend is a film that merges together different voices. Shot in a soft but precise black and white, the film is a fragment of a world that has been caught up one too many times in wars. Filmed mostly in the corners of bar or gardens, the director joins the friendly chat of people who talk about what is going on in the world with the so-called Arab Spring and other issues of world politics. Some of them spin fascinating conspiracy theories while others dream of going away, if only for a short period of time. Beirut Blend manages that most difficult thing: to portrait an historically accurate situation while listening to what the people have to say. These little fragments of peace become therefore the signs of hope. Hope that there can maybe still be the chance for a world where smoking or chatting does not have to be only a small break but the normalcy of a daily life without the fear of another war.


Beirut in the spring of 2011: a blend of people, perspectives and places. Amidst chorus-like assembled shots of the city, Fritz Ofner focuses on brief gatherings between people. Over a Shisha, the smokers share their private matters and their link to the political; through anecdotes we are given a glimpse of highly personal viewpoints. Stories are drawn in, and with a view over the city of Beirut, released again.

(Diagonale Cataloge, 2013)

A film by:
- Fritz Ofner

- Documentary

original language:
- arabian

Available Prints:
- Blu-ray
- DCP 2K

price: 120 EUR


rental conditions

more on Austrian Independent Film & Video Database:
- Credits
- Festival placements
- Texte und Bilder
- Biographie: Fritz Ofner

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