Maroun Bagdadi – Hors la vie AKA Out of Life (1991)

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Patrick Perrault, a photo-journalist covering the war in Beirut in the late 1980s, is himself caught up in the hostilities when one day he is picked up and bundled into a car at gun-point. Blind-folded, he is taken to an unknown location where he discovers that he is being taken hostage by Lebanese guerrillas. Robbed of his passport, stripped and forced to change into a pair of damp pyjamas, he is locked up in a cell from which there is no escape. And he is told that if he takes of his blindfold to see his captors he will be shot dead immediately. So begins his long and brutal nightmare… Continue reading

Jocelyn Saab – Kanya Ya Ma Kan, Beyrouth AKA Once Upon a Time in Beirut (1995)

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“This reflexive voyage into a celluloid Beirut becomes the key to finding out to which Beirut one is returning, and to point to the new Beirut one wishes for the future.” – Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Cineaste

Distraught over Beirut’s destruction, Yasmine and Leila embark on a journey in search of its past. Their possession of two rare, unreleased film reels lands them an encounter with Monsieur Farouk, a reclusive film connoisseur.

Through the magic of cinema, the three of them go back in time on a mythical and history-laden tour of the city. Here the movie shines with images of Beirut from the large-scale American studio efforts of the 1970’s to the Beirut of the 1960’s as seen through the lenses of Arab filmmakers, to the French-directed films of the 1930s. Once Upon a Time: Beirut offers an enchanting look at one of the Middle East’s most complex and beautiful cities. Continue reading

Ziad Doueiri – The Attack (2012)

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Quote:
Dr. Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Palestinian surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society. He has a loving wife, an exemplary career, and many Jewish friends. But his picture-perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves nineteen dead, and the Israeli police inform him that his wife Sihem, who also died in the explosion, was responsible. Convinced of her innocence, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland and enters the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the truth. Once there, he finds himself in ever more dangerous places and situations. Determined, he presses on seeking answers to questions he never thought he would be asking.
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Ziad Doueiri – West Beyrouth aka West Beirut (1998)

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Review By Andrew O’Hehir :

Movies in which a boy comes of age in a landscape shadowed by violence have almost become their own genre, and it seems unlikely that one of them could show us anything new. But even by the standards of such classic examples as Louis Malle’s “Au Revoir les Enfants” and Agnieszka Holland’s “Europa Europa,” “West Beirut” is a noteworthy accomplishment. The debut feature from Ziad Doueiri, a 36-year-old Lebanese immigrant who was a cameraman on all three of Quentin Tarantino’s films, “West Beirut” is engaging and highly accomplished cinema shot on a shoestring budget. Even more strikingly, it carries us to a time and place most Americans know only through the stereotypical horrors of evening-news photography, offering a compelling insider’s vision of Arab family life in the semi-Westernized context of the mid-1970s Middle East.
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