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West Beirut (1998)

West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants) (original title)
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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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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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
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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
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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 Bullitt (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Bambi Saïdi
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
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User Reviews

 
Great slice of history, but without a story to match
27 August 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I was glad to have seen this film, since it showed me a part of the world that I have never seen in such detail before. And despite having no first-hand knowledge of the country, I nonetheless felt there was an authenticity and sincerity about the film that appealed to me. I have heard that there are some inaccurate details, but "West Beyrouth" does not presume to explain any of the larger historical or political events. Rather, it wishes to communicate something of the experience of living in a world being torn apart by forces that can seem nearly incomprehensible by those caught between them. And in that goal, I felt the film enjoyed some success.

I was interested by all the characters as they were introduced, but as the film progresses most of them wind up going in circles, repeating themselves, or just standing idly by. The story, which starts out effectively, loses its narrative drive, and things muddle ahead until eventually the movie is over. I thought it was a shame that a film that so vividly evoked a place and time, could not offer a story of similar strength.

The performances are good, though, and there is some fine music by Stewart Copeland as well. "West Beyrouth" may function better as a glimpse into history than as an engrossing cinematic work, but I still felt it to be worthwhile viewing.


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