Archive of films Sleepless Nights / Layali bala noom

Lebanon / Palestine / Qatar / United Arab Emirates / France
2012, 128 min

Section: A Week of Lebanese Cinema
Year: 2015

In her celebrated Lebanese documentary, the filmmaker brings together a former high-ranking intelligence officer who feels guilty over his part in the Civil War (1975–1990) and a mother still searching for a son who disappeared during the bloody conflict.


Sleepless are the nights of Assaad Shaftari, the former high-ranking intelligence officer in the Lebanese Forces militia who feels the guilt of his actions during the Civil War, as are the nights of Maryam Saidi: thirty years later she is still searching for her son Maher, a young Communist fighter who disappeared during the bloody conflict of 1982. With remarkable courage, motivated by the effort to understand and process her own experiences from the key tragic events of her country’s modern history, documentary filmmaker Eliane Raheb investigates to what extent redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance of a loved one’s wretched fate are even possible. She ponders how, when war arrives, a “normal” individual becomes a fighter and military strategist for a certain time – then suddenly returns to daily life. In the director’s own words, she, herself, became one of the characters in the film, investigating and mediating between all parties that appear before the camera.

Karel Och

About the director

Eliane Raheb (b. 1972, Lebanon) launched her film career with the short dramatic works The Last Screening (1995) and Meeting (1996). She has also shot the documentaries So Near Yet So Far (Karib baiid, 2002), Suicide (Intihar, 2003), and This Is Lebanon (Hayda Lubnan, 2008), the latter of which was awarded at the Yamagata documentary film festival in Japan. Her feature-length documentary debut Sleepless Nights (2012) premiered at the festival in San Sebastián.


ITAR Productions
, , Beirut

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: A Week of Lebanese Cinema
Director: Eliane Raheb
Screenplay: Nizar Hassan
Dir. of Photography: Meyar Roumi, Jocelyne Abi Gebrayel
Editor: Nizar Hassan
Producer: Nizar Hassan
Production: ITAR Productions
Sales: ITAR Productions


Eliane Raheb

Film Director


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