At the cinéma les 3 Luxembourg - 67 rue monsieur le prince 75006 paris
At the Center of Current Events

Since our last biennale in December 2011, the Middle East has barely gone a day without making the headlines. The wave of revolutions that swelled then is still rumbling in the lower depths, but its enemies have also rallied: more than 100,000 have died so far in the civil war in Syria alone.

The Egyptian army has taken advantage of the people's discontent to overthrow the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and seize power once again, while the Saudi army has crushed the uprising in Bahrain.

As for the Palestinians, they scored a big victory when they won admission to the United Nations as the State of Palestine. However, most observers do not believe that the negotiations which resumed with Israel will reach a successful conclusion; Israel has so far refused to compromise on anything, not even on a new settlement freeze in the Occupied Territories.

Tehran and Washington are talking, for the first time in 34 years, raising a modest hope for a solution to the nuclear issue.

Such is the complexity of the backdrop to our 6th edition, which addresses these challenges. Together with Carol Shyman and Anne Vaugeois we have organized a rich and varied program, attuned to the current turmoil. Every evening, personalities and specialists will participate in the debates, organized and moderated by Dominique Vidal and Samuel Shalom, providing insightful orientations to the situations portrayed in the films of the day.
The festival is dedicated to our dear departed friend Stephane Hessel, a constant inspiration for us all, and to the courage of the Middle East youth fighting for democratic values.

Stéphane Hessel, Forever With Us

Stephane Hessel was someone who could truly be called "a beautiful person", generous and radiant. He was not immortal; however, even at 95 he wasn't supposed to take his leave. We expected him always to be with us, and thus he will remain, present among us, in each thought we direct his way.

He has been a permanent face at the venue Les 3 Luxembourg since 2005 and in 2011 we scheduled two charming film portraits and he was invited as our guest of honor.
The day before the screening, his wife Christiane phoned me to request that the discussion after the film be brief, since Stephane had just come back from Prague and was quite tired. Upon his arrival in front of the cinema Les 3 Luxembourg, rue Monsieur le Prince, he was greeted by a round of applause. Inside the theater, the clapping built to an even greater crescendo.

At the end of the film when Stephane came up front for one of our usual film+debate evening showings, I was about to ask the audience to keep their questions brief when Stephane seized the microphone and said, all smiles, "I warn you, I am not a man of few words"…and spent a mesmerizing hour of lively discussion with a delighted audience.

It is not farewell that the entire festival team wants to say to you Stephane, but rather give you an even greater exaltation in the spirit of an everlasting friendship and humble respect of your life's work.

Janine Halbreich-Euvrard
Founder of "What Cinema Can Do"

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