The Lebanese Film industry has been producing a series of ‘flunked’ films for the past year (s) – in my opinion; “pull my eye-balls out why did I watch this” experiences. But once in a blue moon, a Lebanese Film is produced and it gives you an awful lot of hope and inspiration – a film worthy of admiration!
On september 14th “The Insult” will be in cinemas, released on the date that marks the assassination of President Bashir Gemayel, in 1982.
After West Beirut, Lila dit ça, and The Attack, Ziad Doueiri’s ‘The insult’ is another excellent journey from beginning to end. What starts as a small dispute between Tony Touma (Adel Karam) a Lebanese Christian survivor of the 1976 Damour Massacre, and Yasser (Kamel El Basha), a Palestinian refugee residing in the camps and working as a foreman in Toni’s neighborhood, develops into a national court-room case. A dispute involving racism, warlords, and war-debts.
Though the film begins with a disclaimer that ‘none of its content is real and all is fiction’, much of it is very insightful and true to our reality – The disclaimer was most probably used since some Lebanese/Palestinians are very sensitive to political belongings and views, made understandable in the film.
Kamal el Basha and Camil Salameh are masters of their craft. Under Doueiri’s coaching, their performances are so raw and believable that one feels very included in all of their scenes and their dialogues; while Adel Karam gives a true performance for his role.
The women of The Insult are beautifully featured. The strong, the intelligent, and the conscious.
Diamand Bou Abboud is captivating, showing true depth to her character and true conviction in every word she speaks playing the lawyer of Yasser and defending him in court.
Rita Hayek, Tony Touma’s wife, proves herself, as one that can hold her own and act the part alongside the ever so unbeatable Christine Choueiry.
Structure & Script:
Co-written by Joelle Touma and the Director Ziad Doueiry, the film unfolds beautifully and meticulously, as it builds gradually from a small dispute to a nationwide cause. The scripts and dialogues themselves are very true to how real Lebanese speak and not some poetic and preach-like sentences written to fill-in lines. While you might not break in tears or laugh out loud, the film leaves you on-edge throughout.
Craft & Image:
Lebanon looks real. The framing and camera movement really include the spectator in the movie. While the color of the images represents the dusty and tired streets of our country.
What I didn’t fall in love with:
Though the film is entirely commercial – with a cause – the music, in my opinion, was a little too commercial one that doesn’t stick and at times overwhelms the scene. The graphics are not very appealing and a bit basic. A little bit “Hollywood-ish”, a little bit, just a little, at times.
The reason my review is not a scene by scene is because I would hate to reveal the whole plot. “The Insult” will be in cinemas on September the 14th, a story about tolerance and an unbiased view on the people of post-war Lebanon, which is a must-watch! The Film is also taking part in many reputable International Film Festivals and it does deserves the attention.