The Lebanese Rocket Society

Dir: Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Lebanon/France/Qatar 2012, 93 mins 

Cert: U

In 1960 the science department of an Armenian university in Beirut started building small missiles propelled by homebrewed rocket-fuel, just to see how far they could launch them. As their ambitions grew the government got interested, and before long the Lebanese Rocket Society had become a source of enormous national pride, celebrated on stamps and in parades. However, some of Lebanon’s neighbours were a little dubious about the true purpose of the programme.

It’s a fascinating, barely-told tale that resonates with today in all sorts of ways, raising questions about the stories that history leaves behind. Hadjithomas and Joreige let us draw our own connections, concentrating on the personalities behind the programme; in particular head of department Manoug Manougian, now based in Florida and excited to see light finally being shed on his achievements. We are pleased to confirm that Khalil Joreige will be present at Flatpack for the UK premiere of his film.

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