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West Beirut (1998)
"West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,925 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 23 critic

In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark: ... See full summary »

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Title: West Beirut (1998)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Rami Doueiri ...
Tarek Noueri
Naamar Sahli
Mohamad Chamas ...
Omar (as Mouhidine Guerra)
Rola Al Amin ...
May (as Rolande Amin)
Carmen Lebbos ...
Hala Noueri - Tarek's mother (as Carmen Loubbos)
Joseph Bou Nassar ...
Riad Noueri - Tarek' father (as Joseph Nassar)
Liliane Nemri ...
Neighbor (as Liliane Nemry)
Leïla Karam ...
Oum Walid - the madame (as Leila Karam)
Mahmoud Mabsout ...
Hassan - the baker
Hassan Farhat ...
Roadblock Militiaman
Fadi Abou Khalil ...
Bakery Militiaman (as Fadi Abi Samra)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abla Khoury
Edit

Storyline

In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark: school has closed, the violence is fascinating, getting from West to East is a game. His mother wants to leave; his father refuses. Tarek spends time with May, a Christian, orphaned and living in his building. By accident, Tarek goes to an infamous brothel in the war-torn Olive Quarter, meeting its legendary madam, Oum Walid. He then takes Omar and May there using her underwear as a white flag for safe passage. Family tensions rise. As he comes of age, the war moves inexorably from adventure to tragedy. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 October 1998 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

West Beirut  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,157 (USA) (3 September 1999)

Gross:

$343,229 (USA) (22 September 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title "West Beyrouth" has the first word "West" in English, and the spelling of the second word "Beyrouth" in French. The director said that it's an allegory to the trilingual cultrue existing in Lebanon: Arabic being the native language, and French and English being the 2 other quintessential languages spoken there. See more »

Goofs

In one scene when Tarek and Omar can't find May and sit down to talk, a Peugeot 505 appears in the background. Peugeot hadn't released their 505 model in 1975-76, the year at which the scene is supposed to happen. See more »

Connections

References Escape from Hell (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Chant Byzantin Alleluia
by Soeur Marie Keyrouz
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thank God for Indie Movie Channels and the Indies they show
30 October 2002 | by (West Hollywood, Ca.) – See all my reviews

Thank God for IFC and the Sundance Channel here in the U.S. Without these two channels, there are so many films that I otherwise would never have known about less alone actually watched: especially living in the heart of Los Angeles, Studio Capital of the World. I was lucky enough though to stumble upon West Beirut and I just fell in love with it. Somebody in the user comments section said that it was "a very beautiful and funny film if you are arabic", but I'd have to strongly disagree because as a westerner and and an american I found it perhaps even more funny and beautiful as a result of where I come from. Not to get into politics, but it's kind of hard not to, it is so refreshing and wonderful and eye opening to see a film with arab characters in their homeland living their lives the way they really did and would instead of only knowing that part of the world from the violence that is constantly strewn about on the evening news and the constant 'propaganda machine' of american media which seems to be totally controlled and run nowadays by corporations and pharmaceutical companies. This movie, for me, just reinforced the idea that we are all alike no matter where we live on this planet and I find it sad to think that the only way I have to find out and appreciate a history lesson on Beirut or the life of the lebanese is through a film. Being an american, if you listen to our government at all, it would be a really bad idea to travel to the middle east. And so without films like this, it would be impossible for me to experience the oneness of all of us or a glimpse of a country and it's culture. What a beautiful idea it would be to cut out the Bush administration and all the other governments for a month out of the year and allow everyone from each country to go and look at the other side. I think we'd all benefit strongly. Until then, I'll thank movies like West Beirut for being made and allowing me the luxury of being part of another world for a couple of hours.

A great film.


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