After an emotional exchange between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee escalates, the men end up in a court case that gets national attention. Read More »
Set in Marseilles, this coming-of-age tale centers on a Lolita-esque teen who is a big tease to a shy Arab kid. Lila is a gorgeous 16-year-old girl who has just moved, with her rather strange aunt, into a poor neighborhood populated primarily by Arab families. The two leaders of the suburb’s main gang fall in love with her. One is the film’s poetic narrator, a quiet boy with a talent for writing named Chimo; the other is Mouloud, a headstrong punk. One day, Lila dares Chimo to look up her skirt — if he can handle it — and by doing so, puts into motion a sequence of raw, devastating events. The ensuing maelstrom that develops out of this romantic triangle reveals the dangers inherent in sexual game playing.
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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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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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