Waves ’98: The Lebanese Short Film Nominated For A Palme D’Or At Cannes 2015

Ely Dagher Waves '98

4550 short films from across 100 countries were submitted to the Short Films category at Cannes this year. Only 8 made the selection to be in the running for the Palme D’Or. And a Lebanese short film, Waves ’98, by Ely Dagher is one of them.

It has been a long, long time that Lebanon has had any movies featured this prominently at Cannes – Nadine Labaki’s offerings were not given the same treatment. This is the first time in over 24 years that a Lebanese film made the selection at Cannes this way, not since 1991 when Maroun Baghdadi’s “Hors La Vie” was nominated, and ended up winning the Jury Prize..

Ely Dagher is a young Lebanese filmmaker living in Brussels. As someone who was torn between life in Belgium and life in Lebanon, he ended up writing Waves ’98 as a way to come to terms with what living and growing up in Beirut meant to him. The work took two years.

I haven’t seen the movie, but the trailer shows it to be very different from anything Lebanese that has been offered to us in the past few years. In fact, the feel of it reminded me a bit of the very, very good (and very traitorous?) movie “Waltz With Bashir,” albeit with a different subject matter I’d assume.

It doesn’t matter if Ely Dagher’s Waves ’98 wins on May 24th at Cannes or not. The fact that he managed to be nominated out of 4550 other submitted movies is triumphant enough for him and Lebanese talents everywhere, when given room to grow beyond the confines of cliches that they are required to be limited to while trying to make it in Lebanon.

The nomination of Waves ’98 shows that when not limited by subject matter, and when not restricted by local taboos, Lebanese talents can make a dent in fields that we’ve come to brush off as beyond us.

I contrast this with a play I watched recently in Beirut called “Venus,” which had a brilliant script, beyond brilliant acting and broke Lebanese taboos like no other play I had seen before. Venus worked because it didn’t care about sensibilities. Waves ’98 isn’t necessarily within the same context, but it being different puts it in the category of works of art pushing the boundaries of our Lebanese artistic repertoire.

Instead of talking on and on about movies such as Vitamin, and beyond subpar offerings by Lebanese cinema in recent years, we should at least give the ambitious and talented Ely Dagher and his movie the credit they deserve for making a dent, for showing that Lebanese filmmakers can accomplish such feats.

Congratulations, and my outmost respect.

Check out the trailer:


5 thoughts on “Waves ’98: The Lebanese Short Film Nominated For A Palme D’Or At Cannes 2015

  1. Interesting to see you support this movie, but The Prophet which was unveiled in Cannes last year to massive excitement, you choose to disregard.

    Your hypocrisy and lack of understanding is incredible. Their are 4 Lebanese executive producers in the prophet. The movie was predominantly funded by Lebanese, based on a book written by a Lebanese, music score by a Lebanese and yet in your mind you disregard it. Why?

    On another note congratulations to Ely. It’s fantastic seeing Lebanese in Cannes showcasing their artistry. Best of luck.


    • Seriously? Where did I disregard The Prophet as a movie? Talking about the reaction of people to the visit of an actress associated with a movie has nothing to do with me talking about the movie itself.


      • “It has been a long, long time that Lebanon has had any movies featured this prominently at Cannes”

        The Prophet featured last year…. surely couldn’t have been that long long ago… unless of course you have disregarded it cause you know everyone was too busy kissing Salma hayeks ass.


        • The Prophet is a Hollywood movie, not a movie done by a Lebanese maker. That’s 1.
          2) The Prophet was screened at Cannes. It was not in a competition, it was not nominated for a Palme D’or.
          3) You comparing apples to oranges just to try and score points won’t work here.


  2. Pingback: Lebanese Ely Dagher’s Waves ’98 Wins Best Short Movie Award At Cannes 2015 | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

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