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Old Cinemas: Abandoned Picture Houses Become Cultural Centers in Lebanon

Qassem Istanbouli, an art and cinema enthusiast from Lebanon, shows films by directors such as Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch and Lars Von Trier in his picture houses

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Qassem Istanbouli
Qassem Istanbouli holds a film negative, in Tripoli, Lebanon, July 5, 2017. Istanbouli is restoring old cinemas into cultural centers. VOA
  • An abandoned picture house and its renovation in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli is more than a dream for Qassem Istanbouli
  • The 31-year-old has reopened three such cinemas, two in his home city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, and another in Nabatiyeh, and has transformed them into hubs for film, art and theatre
  • Istanbouli, who was born in Tyre and studied fine arts and directing at the Lebanese University, initially relied on a bank loan and donations from the public for his projects

Tripoli, Lebanon, July 14, 2017: With peeling paint and crumbling plasterwork, an abandoned picture house and its renovation in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli is more than a dream for Qassem Istanbouli.

The 31-year-old has reopened three such cinemas, two in his home city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, and another in Nabatiyeh, and has transformed them into hubs for film, art and theater.

“When I embarked on this journey, I felt I shared this dream with people in my city who are eager to have a cultural life restored,” said Istanbouli, who shows films by directors such as Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch and Lars Von Trier.

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Istanbouli, who was born in Tyre and studied fine arts and directing at the Lebanese University, initially relied on a bank loan and donations from the public for his projects but now gets financial support from the Lebanese ministry of culture, a Dutch NGO and the United Nations force in Lebanon.

Istanbouli’s dream is also driven by a family connection, his father used to repair cinema projectors, while his grandfather screened movies from Greece and the Palestinian territories, projecting them on a wall.

“This is a way to achieve my father’s dream,” he said. (VOA)

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New Guinness World Record: Lebanon Now With Highest National Flags Raised in A City

"Today they were capable of raising thousands of Lebanese flags to enter the Guinness book. This is a national initiative which reflects Beirut's role and which implicates no flag other than the Lebanese will be raised in Beirut"

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After raising the flag that broke the world record, MP Tabsh congratulated the Beirut Alive Association for this remarkable individual and national initiative by excellence, adorning Beirut with thousands of Lebanese flags and entering the Book of Guinness. Pixabay

Lebanon’s capital Beirut has set a new Guinness World Record for the number of national flags raised in a city for 24 hours.

The Beirut Alive Association in the national capital on Sunday raised a total of 26,852 Lebanese flags breaking New York’s Waterloo record of 25,599 flags, Xinhua reported.

“I came here to adjudicate the record title for the most national flags displayed in one city in 24 hours. I am here to make sure that all guidelines of Guinness World Record have been achieved and and we have a new record title here which is the 26,852 flags achieved by Beirut Alive Association,” Guinness World Records’ Arbitrator Ahmed Jabr told Xinhua.

Lebanon
The Beirut Alive Association in the national capital on Sunday raised a total of 26,852 Lebanese flags breaking New York’s Waterloo record of 25,599 flags, Xinhua reported. Pixabay

The event was organised under the patronage of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, represented by MP Rola Tabsh, at the Nejmeh Square in downtown Beirut, in the presence of Economic and Social Council Member Mohammed Al-Jouzou and independent witnesses from “Al-Ittihad Law firms” and various prominent figures.

flag
I am here to make sure that all guidelines of Guinness World Record have been achieved and and we have a new record title here which is the 26,852 flags achieved by Beirut Alive Association,” Guinness World Records’ Arbitrator Ahmed Jabr told Xinhua. Pixabay

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After raising the flag that broke the world record, MP Tabsh congratulated the Beirut Alive Association for this remarkable individual and national initiative by excellence, adorning Beirut with thousands of Lebanese flags and entering the Book of Guinness.

“Today they were capable of raising thousands of Lebanese flags to enter the Guinness book. This is a national initiative which reflects Beirut’s role and which implicates no flag other than the Lebanese will be raised in Beirut,” Tabsh said. (IANS)