7.8/10
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51 user 11 critic

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 »

Director:

Ziad Doueiri

Writer:

Ziad Doueiri
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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Rami Doueiri Rami Doueiri ... Tarek Noueri
Naamar Sahli Naamar Sahli
Mohamad Chamas Mohamad Chamas ... Omar (as Mouhidine Guerra)
Rola Al Amin Rola Al Amin ... May (as Rolande Amin)
Carmen Lebbos Carmen Lebbos ... Hala Noueri - Tarek's mother (as Carmen Loubbos)
Joseph Bou Nassar Joseph Bou Nassar ... Riad Noueri - Tarek' father (as Joseph Nassar)
Liliane Nemri Liliane Nemri ... Neighbor (as Liliane Nemry)
Leïla Karam Leïla Karam ... Oum Walid - the madame (as Leila Karam)
Mahmoud Mabsout Mahmoud Mabsout ... Hassan - the baker
Hassan Farhat Hassan Farhat ... Roadblock Militiaman
Fadi Abou Khalil Fadi Abou Khalil ... Bakery Militiaman (as Fadi Abi Samra)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abla Khoury 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Norway | Lebanon | Belgium

Language:

Arabic | French

Release Date:

30 October 1998 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

West Beirut See more »

Filming Locations:

Beirut, Lebanon

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,157, 5 September 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$343,229, 24 September 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Lebanon the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 71st Academy Awards in 1999. 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

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

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User Reviews

 
Another vision of a Lebanese director!
28 February 1999 | by maradonaSee all my reviews

It will not be the last film on the Lebanese war that you'll ever see, because the industry is just getting on its feet, but it is most certainly the most selfcentered of all.

It depicts the somehow distorted facts of the life of one Ziad El-Doueiri(the director) in an attempt to show you all fine people what is the Lebanese war. It is far more complicated than this simplified version of it. Even we cannot figure it yet.

Let talk about the film itself. The script is pathetic, there is no story, it seems to me like a student film with a little more of a budget (gee man, I wanna a bus and a lot of machine guns and I want them to go boom, so please can we do that?) with no real ending.

The dialogs are simple, no real one anyways, just a little bit of statements and a lot of shouting from a character. But in this nightmare, some scenes are worth it, like the bicycle scene and the underwear scene. Better yet, and in defense of this film, I must say that it is an overall "chemin initiatique" for the boys, and this we understand very clearly. But if you noticed my use of the term "film" and not "movie" to indicate the subject, it's because in no way good or bad, this film can be rated a movie, for its lack of entertaining and logic.

All in all, it's an over-rated, distorted events piece of film. And what bother me most, is that some of the Lebanese viewers found it very bad, but very good for Lebanese industry. Though it's tragically true, it also very pathetic.

Well, let's hope for the best, in the best of worlds possible.


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