MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 3,906 this week

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

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,878 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 »

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 19 Jul 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 24 Oct 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 18 May 2013
 
a list of 28 titles
created 4 days ago
 

Related Items

Search for "West Beirut" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: West Beirut (1998)

West Beirut (1998) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of West Beirut.
8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bosta (2005)
Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Fifteen years after a traumatic explosion in his native Beirut, Kamal Maf'ouss returns from France, where he was nationalized and become a composer-choreographer. He reassembles youth ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Aractingi
Stars: Rodney El Haddad, Nadine Labaki, Nada Abou Farhat
Zozo (2005)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Lebanese boy gets separated from his family during the civil war and ends up in Sweden.

Director: Josef Fares
Stars: Imad Creidi, Antoinette Turk, Elias Gergi
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An examination of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 through to the present day.

Director: Elia Suleiman
Stars: Ali Suliman, Saleh Bakri, Elia Suleiman
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Lina, a young girl in war-torn Beirut, finds an ally and friend in Sihan, her domineering aunt's maid. Sihan shows Lina what her life could be like, but tests the girl's limits when she asks her to help plot her escape from the city.

Director: Danielle Arbid
Stars: Marianne Feghali, Rawia Elchab, Laudi Arbid
The Kite (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young 15 year old girl, Lamia, lives in a southern Lebanese village on the border with Israel. She is given in marriage to her cousin on the other side of the border. As Lamia crosses the... See full summary »

Director: Randa Chahal Sabag
Stars: Flavia Bechara, Maher Bsaibes, Randa Asmar
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the wake of Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey around the scarred region in search of her sister and her son.

Director: Philippe Aractingi
Stars: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz, Rawia Elchab
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In an apartment building in Beirut, on the last day of the year, seven characters start their day by visiting their psychologist as part of the weekly ritual. On that couch in their ... See full summary »

Director: Mahmoud Hojeij
Stars: Camille Salameh, Fadi Abi Samra, Nada Abou Farhat
Falafel (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Everything bad that can happen on the way to a party happens to young Tou on this nighttime trip though Beirut.

Director: Michel Kammoun
Stars: Elie Mitri, Gabrielle Bou Rached, Issam Bou Khaled
Stray Bullet (2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Noha is about to get married. Her family is relieved to see her take advantage of this last chance before officially becoming a spinster just like her sister. Everything seems to be going ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Hachem
Stars: Badih Bouchakra, Takla Chamoun, Nadine Labaki
Tannoura Maxi (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

It was the summer of 82, when a priest, about to be ordered, was exhausted by temptations and an arrogant girl felt passionately in love... A sifted memory and a personal history of a ... See full summary »

Director: Joe Bou Eid
Stars: Joy Karam, Chady Tineh, Carol Abboud
Beyrouth hôtel (TV Movie 2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Director: Danielle Arbid
Stars: Charles Berling, Darine Hamze, Fadi Abi Samra
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

'Mohammad Chamas' who played Omar in the movie was discovered by accident. At one time while the crew was preparing the set and not having found an actor to play Omar, Mohammed was passing by and he had a fight with one of the crew members. The director noticed him and immediately asked him to play the character. After having lived in an orphanage most of his life, becoming a lead in a motion picture was an important change of pace. See more »

Goofs

On 13 April 1975, while class is in session, Tarek watches the ambush of the bus from the balcony of his school in Christian-dominated East Beirut. 13 April 1975 was a Sunday. Schools in East Beirut are closed on Sundays. See more »

Connections

References Airport 1975 (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Bambi Saïdi
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Exhilarating and poignant, as the teen movie gives onto the war film.
9 April 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

When making a film about divisive national conflicts, a familiar device is to frame the historical subject matter in a rites-of-passage narrative. This device produces a number of effects - a contrast between life as the audience knows it, and a historical reality they do not; by following a child's awakening, growing experience and knowledge of the world, it can reveal history and war as a lived experience, and not as something isolated in a textbook; it can show the progress of history as a kind of fall from innocence, as if any child's entering adulthood forces him to acknowledge shocking truths that are merely intensified in a war situation.

'West Beirut' tells the tale of Tarek, a gawky, humungously hootered smart aleck and class clown whom we first see disrupting assembly by blaring Lebanese over a megaphone during 'La Marseillaise'. For some reason, his liberal-left parents have sent him to a French school - this is the first historical nuance the viewer is expected to pick up on: if s/he doesn't, tough.

These opening sequences, messing about with his cousin Omar at school, furtively smoking and staring at attractive relatives, winding up obese neighbours, have something of the freewheeling joy found in a contemporaneous film about adolescence ('West Beirut' is set in 1975), Louis Malle's 'Murmur of the Heart'.

Except, even at this stage, everything is fraught, riven by division - the two languages Tarek speaks, the different religions among whom he co-exists; the different levels of space he inhabits. When he is punished and thrown out of class for disrupting the anthem, he witnesses the beginning of war, the shooting of the passengers on a bus. Again, we are expected to know which side is which, what they're fighting for etc. The main thing is, Tharek's expulsion and the beginning of the war seem to be intimately mixed, almost as if his transgression caused it; and so beings a pattern that shapes the film.

Everything you would expect from a rites-of-passage film is here, but tainted by the war environment - Tarek's first girlfriend is a Christian, making him aware of religious bigotry; his accidental visit to a brothel, his first sexual experience, brings alive to him the division of his city - it's always the subculture that suffers in situations like this. 1970s Lebanon is surprisingly Westernised and liberal, but a general retrenchment occurs, and Omar is expected to go to Mosque. It suddenly becomes dangerous to know the 'wrong' people, and the pressure of this division extends beyond friends into the family itself, between a pride that refuses to be bullied (Tarek's father), and a fear that just wants to get out (his mother).

One of the great things about this film is the way it brings you into a war situation - like us, the characters don't really know what's happening, they have no context - this is random, present-tense, frightening, where the morning cock crow is replaced by bombs as an alarm clock; where military 'protection' is no different from gangsterism. Doueiri's handheld style, used initially to heighten the vividness of youth, can easily adapt to the urgency of war, flitting between the two. The film never betrays either, never suggests childish games are somehow less important.

Omar is a young filmmaker, filming his friends and the city around him. One subplot centres around a film developer on the other side of the city border. A recurrent motif is of looking, being a voyeur, getting to know the world through accessing and interpreting visual information. This may be a biographical portrait of the director as a Young Artist. But, in its modest way, 'West Beirut' performs the same function as Nabokov's 'Speak Memory', using memory, nostalgia, autobiography, not as a comfy escape, but as an artistic weapon against a totalitarian present.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ending lou131
Guitar piece in movie? transl-me
Question about Movie Similar to This CutUrHairHippie
Idiot kids tosha-2
escape from hell laimisas
Favorite Character wsemaan07
Discuss West Beirut (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?