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A History Lesson

Start: 15 May 2011 4:00 pm

Venue: Birkbeck Cinema

15 May 2011 4:00 pm
Birkbeck Cinema
43 Gordon Square, London, United Kingdom, WC1H 0PD

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A History Lesson

+ Panel Discussion UK Premiere
Hady Zaccak | 51 mins

Who are Lebanon’s enemies? Who are its historical allies? And what is the most important date in the country’s history?

In Hadi Zaccak’s new documentary A History Lesson, five ninth-grade students studying in schools throughout the country are all taught the same standardized history text, yet they seldom provide the same answers to these important questions. Spliced interviews intertwined with footage of the students in their homes combine to make the director’s case—that the underlying problem is how history is taught in the country, or perhaps more accurately, how it is not taught.

During the recasting of the Lebanese constitution at Taif in 1989, it was decided to create a consolidated history and civics curriculum for Lebanese schools. This decision is one of the facets of the Taif Accord that was never implemented. The premise of A History Lesson is the Lebanese state’s dysfunctional attitude toward the way Lebanese history is taught in its school system, shown through the classrooms of five schools in greater Beirut – Christian, Muslim and secular. This accessible documentary was originally made for Al Jazeera Documentary channel and is Zaccak’s successful attempt to bend the rules of television documentary to the complexities and contradictions of Lebanon’s socio-political landscape.

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