Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
After the award-winning West Beirut and the universally lauded The Attack—the latter focusing on a prominent Arab surgeon living in Israel who discovers his wife is the perpetrator of a suicide bombing—Lebanese-born, Hollywood-trained (he was a camera assistant on Tarantino’s first two films) co-writer-director Ziad Doueiri cements his reputation as cinema’s leading voice from Lebanon. His taut political drama about intolerance carries profound reverberations of the Lebanese Civil War.
During the course of a simple renovation in Beirut, a seemingly minor disagreement over some water issues balloons until Toni, a Lebanese Christian, utters a grievous insult at Yasser, a Palestinian refugee. Filing a formal complaint that leads to a highly publicized trial, Yasser inadvertently fuels a national debate that threatens to become a full-blown political crisis between the Christian and Palestinian communities… Smoothly transitioning from the streets to the courtroom and back again, Doueiri reminds us how the trivial can serve as tinder for a political wildfire while crafting a modern-day fable about how someone can play oppressor and victim in the same conflict.
"Lebanon is a very complex country, contradictory and passionate. With Joëlle Touma, we wrote a story that evokes our past as much as our present. This film is about justice. That is what Toni and Yasser are looking for. And the quest for justice is also a quest for dignity."—Ziad Doueiri