In a rare case where the sound landscape of a film dictates the visual landscape, Rana Eid’s Panoptic is a depiction of the turbulent Lebanese past and the way society copes with trauma. The striking sounds and visuals are linked by a voiceover narration of a personal letter to Eid’s deceased father, a former general, that questions nationalism and accountability. Comparing modernism to collective amnesia, Eid finds similarities between an abandoned building looming over the city—a site of torture—and the mythological Argos and Foucault’s panopticon. The abandoned building, an all-seeing entity, stands testament to the horrifying past and contradictory present.
Panoptic was nominated for the Signs of Life Award, Locarno International Film Festival (2017) and won Best Documentary, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (2017).