7.9/10
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L'insulte (2017)

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After an emotional exchange between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee escalates, the men end up in a court case that gets national attention.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Camille Salameh ...
Wajdi Wehbe
...
...
Talal Jurdi ...
Talal
...
Manal Salameh
Julia Kassar ...
Judge Colette Mansour
Rifaat Torbey ...
Samir Geagea
Carlos Chahine ...
Judge Chahine
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Georges Daoud ...
Georges Hanna
Elie Njeim ...
Elie
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Storyline

In today's Beirut, an insult blown out of proportions finds Toni, a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, in court. From secret wounds to traumatic revelations, the media circus surrounding the case puts Lebanon through a social explosion, forcing Toni and Yasser to reconsider their lives and prejudices.

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Words Change Everything.

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Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violent images | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

14 September 2017 (Lebanon)  »

Also Known As:

El insulto  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,001,305, 19 April 2018
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(HD)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Official submission of Lebanon for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018. See more »

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User Reviews

 
sticks and stones
1 February 2018 | by See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. When a film opens with a statement that 'the views expressed are those of the authors and director, and not of the government of Lebanon', one quickly understands the difference in artistic freedom in that country versus what occurs in the United States, where cartoons and memes regularly poke fun at this country's President. Director Ziad Doueri and his co-writer Joelle Touma present an intense story of human nature that might happen anywhere, but since the leads are a Lebanese Christian and a Palestine refugee, that opening statement is warranted.

One morning, a seemingly innocuous exchange between Tony (Adel Karam) and Yasser (Kamel El-Basha) takes place. While watering flowers on his balcony, the overflow sprays Yasser on the street below. Yasser, a city contractor, orders his team to fix the drainage issue, and Tony reacts violently - leading to Yasser delivering the titular insult. From there, all heck breaks loose. Apologies are requested and never delivered. Appeals to rational reconsideration are made. Tony's pregnant wife (an excellent Rita Hayek) pleads with him to let it go. Yasser's boss threatens him with termination. Still, two stubborn and prideful men refuse to give in.

The subsequent courtroom drama feature other side stories, not the least of which is the relationship between the two opposing attorneys (Diamond Bou Abboud and Camile Salaheh), one a rising legal star and the other a veteran attempting to make up for a past failure. Emotions run high as two too-proud men turn what was little more than a playground standoff into a national incident being fought in the legal system and the media. Tony is a hot-head who somehow thinks an apology from Yasser is actually an apology for how Palestinians "messed up this country". Yasser's stoic nature barely shrouds his bitterness at the world since the Lebanon Civil War. History and childhood roots play a role, but mostly it's human nature that is at the core of this escalation.

Though the title is not plural, there are multiple insults slung throughout the film, each reminding us of the power of words and the futility of the "sticks and stones" phrase. Our own prejudices and preconceptions alter our views and reactions, often preventing us from standing in the other fellow's shoes. Again, this situation could have played out in most any neighborhood on the globe, but this particular locale shows various ethnic and religious groups are still grappling with what it means to live together - despite the years of wars and unrest. We don't see a great deal of Middle Eastern cinema, but three days after I watched this film, it became the first ever movie from Lebanon to receive an Oscar nomination (Best Foreign Language Film) ... proving yet again that the language of cinema is universal.


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