Sisters of the Rotation is a fifteen minute long short film by Gaby and Michel Zarazir, a Lebanese brothers duo who should to be on everyone's radar. Their upcoming feature, still in the financing stage, is titled Trip to Jerusalem.
Their love for the absurd began early on and even reading the brothers' bio on their press kit brings a smile to this writer's face. "Gaby is trying to live 140 years, while Michel does his best to be elected Pope," one line says. Fair enough.
I met the brothers in Jeddah, as they were there presenting their short, while also securing additional funding for their feature. Sisters of the Rotation is a dark comedy, about the need for religion to prove it helps turn the world.
In fact, the sisters in question spend most of their days and nights turning a wooden wheel that makes the earth turn. Or so they believe. But there is a rogue nun among them, the unbearably cute sister Zeina (played by a personal favorite icon in the MENA region, the publicist behind most of the Arab cinema press junkets, Zeina Sfeir). Sister Zeina gets punished for not "drinking the Cool-Aid" as they say, and she may be right, because one day the sisters are in for a rude awakening...
As the brothers are Lebanese, there is a deeper force at play in the story, the issue of the weight of religion in the Region in particular. How each side thinks they are so crucial that the earth literally would not turn without their presence and dogmas. It is a lesson that, while subtle in the film, is the central theme and thus, what the audience ends up walking away remembering. The idea is almost revolutionary, though perhaps the brothers wouldn't be happy with that definition, as their character and cinematic style is slow, sultry and deep.
Stay tuned for an interview with the brothers soon and don't miss the film in Texas this month! For more info, check out the SXSW website.