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Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joriege Memory Box

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #85. Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joriege’s Memory Box

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #85. Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joriege’s Memory Box

Memory Box

It’s been over a decade since the last narrative feature from Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joriege, but they’re back with fourth feature Memory Box (aka The Notebooks), produced by Abbout Productions’ Georges Schoucair and Haut Et Court’s Carole Scotta. Manal Issa (Nocturama), Rim Turki and Paloma Vauthier are among the cast in the production lensed by French-Canadian Josée Deshaies (of Bertrand Bonello’s House of Tolerance and Saint Laurent). Key figures of contemporary Lebanese cinema, Hadjithomas and Joriege have been working in documentary film for the past decade but are best remembered for their 2005 film A Perfect Day, which won the FIPRESCI prize out of Locarno and 2008’s I Want to See, which starred Catherine Deneuve and premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

Gist: Maia is living as a single mother in Montreal but when she receives a mysterious Christmas present of notebooks, audiotapes and photographs from the 1980s which were items she mailed to her best friend before she fled Beirut with her family as a teenager. Through the insistence of her daughter, Maia is forced into a reckoning with her past.

Release Date/Prediction: Post-production was halted at the beginning of the pandemic, but Hadjithomas and Joriege could potentially be ready to present by Cannes 2021, although likely in Directors’ Fortnight or Un Certain Regard.


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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