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West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)
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West Beirut (1998) More at IMDbPro »West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants) (original title)

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Ziad Doueiri (writer)
View company contact information for West Beirut on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 October 1998 (Norway) See more »
In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
8 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The other side of war See more (49 total) »


  (in credits order)
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
Aïda Sabra ... School Principal (uncredited)

Directed by
Ziad Doueiri 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ziad Doueiri  writer

Produced by
Bjørn Eivind Aarskog .... co-producer
Rachid Bouchareb .... producer
Jean Bréhat .... producer
Original Music by
Stewart Copeland 
Cinematography by
Ricardo Jacques Gale 
Film Editing by
Dominique Marcombe 
Production Design by
Hamze Nasrallah 
Production Management
Elie Adabachi .... production manager
Sound Department
Nicolas Cantin .... sound
David Rit .... sound assistant
Thierry Sabatier .... sound re-recording mixer
Visual Effects by
Ronan Broudin .... digital compositor
Camera and Electrical Department
Roger Arpajou .... still photographer
Gus Khazaka .... grip
Music Department
John Bilezikjian .... musician: flute
Jeff Seitz .... music co-producer
Other crew
Delphine Régnier .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)" - France (original title)
See more »
105 min | Argentina:105 min (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

'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 »
Anachronisms: 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 »
Movie Connections:
References Bullitt (1968)See more »
Ya doray ShamiSee more »


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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
The other side of war, 3 September 1999
Author: Sean Gallagher ( from Brooklyn, NY

Having lived in North America my entire life, and only seeing the rest of the world through movies, books, and TV, I confess I have no experience of what the world is like when your home is a battlefield, especially in places like the Balkans and the Middle East, which have been sources of strife for several centuries. For many, of course, it's a source of tragedy. But what about those who may live on the edge of conflict, but aren't directly involved? For those who the challenge is simply to fit your day to day life around the war? HOPE AND GLORY was a film like that, though it was also about a little boy who could of course only see school was out, and WEST BEIRUT is like that as well; in fact, it retains the child-like view of HOPE AND GLORY but balances it with the adult viewpoint.

Writer-director Ziad Doueiri isn't interested in making a tract about the Lebanese Civil War(though he doesn't slight from its horrors, as in its opening scene of the bus massacre), but rather picking up the details of everyday life there. If there's a message, and Doueiri refreshingly doesn't hammer us over the head with one, it seems to be this; you do what you can. That's the attitude of the father of the main character Tarak; when both his wife and his son want to leave, he reminds them they really have no place else to go, these things have happened before, but they will stop, and life will go on. You can even find humor in your existence(as when Tarak escapes a battle by hiding in a car, which then takes him to what he thinks is a group of guerrillas but turns out to be something else entirely).

Doueiri, who was the second-unit cameraman on every film Quentin Tarantino directed, not only shows his visual flair, but also tells a compelling story, although with a few slow spots, and while the main characters are teens coming of age, we see the adult point of view as well; sometimes it's mocked(when Tarak's friend Omar complains his father thinks all Western culture is the devil's work, Tarak replies, puzzled, "How does Paul Anka come from Satan?"), but mostly it's taken seriously, and that, I think, helps make this a good film. Doueiri and his brother Rami(who plays Tarak) are ones to watch.

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