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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 1,982 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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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

Chevrolet M1008 Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles - a militarized 5/4 ton version of the third generation Chevrolet C/K pickup - are seen in the movie, which was supposed to have taken place in 1975. The Chevrolet M1008 did not enter production until 1984. See more »

Connections

References Escape from Hell (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Ya doray Shami
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great movie
9 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

I lived outside Lebanon my entire life. When I went back ten years after the war has ended, I saw a normal style of life. Although I have learned a lot about the civil through my dad and books, but I was not able to imagine the way the war was conducted. The weird incidents of two men talking to each other one day, and then killing each other the next day. I did not comprehend the killing of two Lebanese guys of each other due to different of religious sects. When I saw this movie with my dad, I felt a small gesture of sadness coming out of my father.

The details of the movie were close enough to the sad reality that happened in Lebanon. Even the militia check points were similar to the one my father told me about. The main characters in the movie were two Muslim boys and a Christian girl. Despite the lack of work, food, and other necessities, their families did not leave their houses. Ziad Doueiri, the writer and director imbedded a true concept of reality inside this movie. The innocence of the children playing around with no schools to go to and sometimes fall into dangerous situations made the movie more beautiful and gave it some sense of black satire.

The story involves mainly three kids. Tarek lives with his parents in West Beirut. He and his best friend Omar are filming films and yearning to unravel the mysteries of sex. They then meet Maya, a pretty Christian girl who moves into their neighbourhood. The three of them have several adventures in the chaotic streets patrolled by Muslim militias. Tarek's most exotic experience is a surprise visit to a famous bordello run by Madame Oum Walid where he learns that peace doesn't come easily when religious hatred is involved.


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