Friday, December 2 - Thursday, December 8, 2011

“Teta, Alf Marra” is a poetic documentary that puts a feisty Beiruti grandmother at the center of brave film exercises concocted by her grandson to capture and commemorate her many worlds before they are erased by the passage of time and her eventual death.

Teta Kaabour is an 83-year old family matriarch and sharp-witted queen bee of an old Beiruti quarter. Sheʼs been gripped as of late by the silence of her once-buzzing household where she raised children and grandchildren. Resigned to Argileh smoking and day-long coffee drinking on a now-empty balcony, Teta now invokes the deepest memories of her violinist husband who died twenty years ago. She claims a preparedness to re-unite with him.

Filmmaker Mahmoud Kaabour, Tetaʼs favorite grandson and the bearer of his grandfatherʼs full name, has also been pre-occupied for years with the memory of his grandfather. Prior to his death, the late violinist had audio taped heart-wrenching violin improvisations in the privacy of his room in that same flat. That music, along with the details of his long career playing with the Arab worldʼs most famous divas, remains unpublished. The filmmakerʼs anguish is compounded at the thought that this personal and cultural heritage, as well as grandmaʼs own stories, rare recipes, and naughty humor, will go with her when she parts this life.

“Teta, Alf Marra” brings together grandfather, grandmother, and grandson in a playful magic-realist documentary that aims to defy a past death and a future one. It documents with great intimacy the larger-than-life character of Teta Kaabour, her telling of the trials of her violinist husband and his Beirut, as well as her imaginings of what awaits her beyond death. All while the filmmaker constantly switches roles between the filmʼs silent creator, Tetaʼs grandson in front of the camera, and a re-enactor of his late grandfather. Meanwhile, the deceased violinist circles them with his seven violin improvisations that serve as the impetus of the film and its soundtrack.


  • Country United Arab Emirates/Qatar/Lebanon
  • Language In Arabic with English subtitles
  • Rating NR
  • Running Time 48 minutes
  • Director Mahmoud Kaabour

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.