Rue Huvelin and the Youth Protest Movement
Lebanon’s Rue Huvelin offers a vital document of the student led protests against the Syrian Occupation of Lebanon. Filmed in a documentary style and with a cast of amateurs, the film attempts to get to the heart of a movement which foreshadowed the Arab Spring.
Rue Huvelin is a landmark street in Beirut and is the location of the French language ‘Université St. Joseph’; it is also a hotbed of student activism and has been for the past several decades, as the film of the same name reveals.
Directed by Mounir Massari, a veteran of Lebanese cinema, Rue Huvelin depicts the popular opposition to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in the early years of the 1990s. In revealing the inner workings of a student-driven popular protest movement, Rue Huvelin hints at what may have occurred in the Arab Spring, in similar movements in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
Rue Huvelin is also a further piece of evidence of the strength of the Lebanese film industry, which despite the small size of the country and the relative lack of funding, has thrived over recent years and is one of the few in the Middle East that can lay claim to being a national cinema. Films such as Under the Bombs, Caramel and Where Do We Go Now? show the strength and variety of Lebanon’s cinema and the way it is prospering despite the uncertainty in the region.