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Maria Irene Fornes,
A dreamy Beirut war documentary about an era that is fading away
The beauty of this has surpassed my resentment to the Lebanese socialite, aristocratic families of Beirut. It could have been a feeling of jealousy since I come from a modest family. I've been brought up in the corners of Achrafieh, and the whole francophone culture because of my school, and my fancy friends. But I've never really been one of them.
When I first stumbled upon the movie, I never expected so much honesty and transparency to come out, especially that our Lebanese society lacks a lot of it in my opinion, even to this day.
The movie shows how spoiled the Bustros family members really were, even during the horrors of the war. But what we see is a more personal portrait of the people living in it, putting all the war documentary clichés aside. Their house is among the most beautiful in the country. I've always stumbled upon it as a kid, and have always fantasized about living within its walls. It retains so much identity and things I really long for, even from afar.
Their story is very similar to the fate of the city, often represented by an old lady sitting in her big, fancy, but dusty mansion, fading away. More people are climbing the social ladder in our country everyday, making the elite class lose its charm with their incompetence, lack of culture, and taste. I couldn't help but remember the sh*t we're in, the one that was hitting the fan at the making of this movie. Give us our old Beirut back, because we don't care how spoiled they are, or the injustice of it all. Give us back the old days.
There is beauty in war melancholia on film, maybe in 1987 when it was still happening, but not anymore. We're in it now, and we are living the consequences.
The documentary is an absolute work of art, with its dreamy Ziad Rahbani background music, beautiful photography, and overwhelming experience as whole.
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