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Tribute to Antoine Mechawar Print E-mail
A TRIBUTE TO ANTOINE MECHAWAR
Born the 13/6/1936     Died the 17/11/1975

 
   Author, poet, T.V & cinema talented director ANTOINE MECHAWAR was born in Beirut, Lebanon the 13th June 1936. He lost his father at a young age and was very attached to his mother& grand mother. All his holidays were spent at his family own village “Touweiry” on a green hill in South Lebanon. He spent his time reading, writing poetry, painting & doing long rides on horses in company of his grand mother. She was a great boss supervising the work of the peasants of the village picking up the crops & taking care of the tobacco leaves.
  
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   Back at school in Beirut he was a bright student but took every opportunity to go to the movies and watch all the films he could.


   He joined the Medicine Faculty to become a doctor but preferred in 1958 to tempt his luck at the opening of the COMPAGNIE LIBANAISE DE TELEVISION ( C.L.T ) when approached by a friend who knew how gifted he was.
  

   Antoine got his knowledge & training by French professionals & proved to be very talented. A year after the bright cameraman became a TV director. In fact he was the first at any contest and was very appreciated by a great man on command at the C.L.T Mr. RENE UHRY that ANTOINE admired a lot. 
 
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   ANTOINE was in charge with the top programs at the C.L.T such as the famous social program “ ABOU MELHEM “, “PELE MELE” TOUTE LA VILLE CHANTE the programS of Pierre Gedeon in quest of the young star  among many other programs, Arabic variety shows & French famous theatre plays as  “Les bonnes” of Genet or Kafka’s Colonie Penitentiaire produced by the gifted Roger Assaf, Yves Turquieh & Jalal Khoury.
 


    Everybody recognized in him a great talent besides an outstanding open character. He was deeply interested in music, loved opera & was concerned by every book written on earth.
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    Nevertheless the peak of his talent was at his best with his collaboration with LES PRODUCTIONS PANHEL. He met Helene Malek when he was appointed as the director of her film “Le Diamant de L’eau” ( the water’s Diamond ) by the French program director of the C.L.T  Mr. ANDRE HUGHES and realized later in time that joining efforts they could do great achievements. And time proved he was right
  

   ANTOINE in a short time added to his rich palmare’s hundreds of films commercials TV series and a great number of short films & documentaries.

  

   The first PANHEL film commercial directed by Antoine who was awarded a first prize was WELLA”S LIFETEX BALSAM FILM “ Dancing “ followed by various other awards in Lebanon, Morocco & other countries.
  

   The documentary who was awarded first prize was ”THE ARABIC MEDICINE”. This film was the first film who got an international first prize to Lebanon. The well deserved success of this film had to give to ANTOINE & PANHEL fame & international recognition. Unfortunately not one ordered copy arrived to destination. To be paid for a film who made no profit at all ANTOINE had to accept that the Lebanese Ministry of Information will be the owner of the negatives & will be ordering the copies himself. It appeared later on that the Ministry of Information could not do such transactions. In result nobody could buy one copy of this 3 versions outstanding masterpiece. The Ministry of Information ordered in 1968 through PANHEL around 6 copies ( in 35 mm & 16 mm) and it is these 6 copies that were traveling from one festival to the other to win awards. The last first prize award we heard of being at the MONTE CARLO FILM FESTIVAL in 1975.
  

   ANTOINE & PANHEL tried to correct this mistake in a way or another talking with the right authorities but the war stopped all procedures.

   Besides numerous industrial films, documentaries hundreds of commercials, many TV series as “ Al Nouk Al Bid” or “ Mawakef lil Zikra” for Tele – Motion, ANTOINE was involved in some very famous C.L.T TV programs later on as “LE MICRO DANS L’OEIL” & “THE THEATRE OF THE ORIENT” which first play was “ Ya talaa el Chajara” of Tewfik el Hakim with Thea Rassi, Antoine Kerbaje, Mounir Maasri and Nabih Abou el Hosn. The set was signed Juliana Seraphim.

   A man of so many skills had to be taken care of. A man like him had to be appreciated or at least be warmly recognized by his country.

   A real artist, a man who struggled after perfection had to be praised for his unique achievements. Alas! In Lebanon, unfortunately, this has not been the case. Nevertheless Antoine loved his country immensely. The war that struck on Lebanon, the betrayal of someone he thought very close to him and in whom he put all his faith achieved him. He preferred to quit this unworthy world the 17th November 1975.

   As he wrote in his poetry book  “ Les Longues herbes de la Nuit”….
   “Je deploirais en guise de voile le filet de sang que je porte dans mon corps et je dirais adieu a la terre”.
   Since the war stopped the cultural elite in Lebanon realized the great loss & some tributes honored him as the first promotion of the audiovisuals students of the Lebanese academy of beautiful arts (ALBA) who was named the Antoine Mechawar promotion. Then in 1998 at THE INSTITUTE OF THE ARABIC WORLD in Paris where some of his films have been seen and in the BEIRUT FILM FESTIVAL of September 26th 2001.

Pictures of Antoine Mechahwar

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Articles

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Antoine Mechahwar: The Poet

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Hommage à l'institut du monde Arabe (Paris)

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Micro dans l'oeil

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