Lebanese filmmaker Nour Ouayda embraces a captivating and necessary utopia, one of secret oases hidden among cities. Her dream becomes real in Beirut. In eight chapters, we are led through a space of legend and myth by Camelia and Nahla, our guides in this sublime discovery. With its radiant celluloid images and lyrical and immersive pacing, The Secret Garden offers another way of observing; it compels us to see those flashes of beauty all around us that we miss because of the horror, the speed and the noise. But if we look closely, utopia might be more real than we think. (JHE)
Nour Ouayda is a filmmaker and film programmer. Her films experiment with various forms of fiction writing in cinema. She is currently deputy director at Metropolis Cinema Association in Beirut where she also manages the Cinematheque Beirut project. She is the co-editor of the Montreal-based online film journal Hors Champ and a member of The Camelia Committee with Carine Doumit and Mira Adoumier.