7.8/10
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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 »

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

'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 »

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 Mushukunin-betsuchô (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Bambi Saïdi
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thank God for Indie Movie Channels and the Indies they show
30 October 2002 | by CullenCooksSee all my reviews

Thank God for IFC and the Sundance Channel here in the U.S. Without these two channels, there are so many films that I otherwise would never have known about less alone actually watched: especially living in the heart of Los Angeles, Studio Capital of the World. I was lucky enough though to stumble upon West Beirut and I just fell in love with it. Somebody in the user comments section said that it was "a very beautiful and funny film if you are arabic", but I'd have to strongly disagree because as a westerner and and an american I found it perhaps even more funny and beautiful as a result of where I come from. Not to get into politics, but it's kind of hard not to, it is so refreshing and wonderful and eye opening to see a film with arab characters in their homeland living their lives the way they really did and would instead of only knowing that part of the world from the violence that is constantly strewn about on the evening news and the constant 'propaganda machine' of american media which seems to be totally controlled and run nowadays by corporations and pharmaceutical companies. This movie, for me, just reinforced the idea that we are all alike no matter where we live on this planet and I find it sad to think that the only way I have to find out and appreciate a history lesson on Beirut or the life of the lebanese is through a film. Being an american, if you listen to our government at all, it would be a really bad idea to travel to the middle east. And so without films like this, it would be impossible for me to experience the oneness of all of us or a glimpse of a country and it's culture. What a beautiful idea it would be to cut out the Bush administration and all the other governments for a month out of the year and allow everyone from each country to go and look at the other side. I think we'd all benefit strongly. Until then, I'll thank movies like West Beirut for being made and allowing me the luxury of being part of another world for a couple of hours.

A great film.


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