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7 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, funny, sad, historically accurate film, 28 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
'West Beirut' is the story of a boy and his two friends as the 1975 civil war breaks out in Beirut. While their parents suffer under the strain of maintaining family life in wartime, the young teenagers find that the troubles open all kind of opportunities to explore the city and it's ever-shifting demarcation lines. This eventually comes at a price, so in a way their journey is a gradual loss of innocence.
The Lebanese war began in earnest when a busload of Palestinians were shot by Christian militiamen, and this is reenacted accurately and in perfect context to the story. The film is sympathetic to the Lebanese plight and never takes sides - the various factions are very much in the background, and while the destruction they wrought is very much in evidence, their political and sectarian motivations are not seen.
The 70s atmosphere and wardrobe is convincing, and while postwar Beirut is now rising like a phoenix, it was still possible to film in areas where destruction remains and so the viewer gets to see one of the strangest sights of the modern age, a huge western (in appearance) city in ruins.
A fantastic, brilliantly acted and filmed story that works on many levels. An outstanding World Cinema title.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare story about a forgotten conflict, 2 Jan 2004
This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
The Lebanese conflict is hardly mentioned, and known in the West. So a film about the war is a rarity.
The story is part auto biographical, based on the experiences of the director from his childhood in Beirut, and part historical, following the events of the 1970s in Lebanon.
It is an extraordinary film, very moving, using the twist of viewing the war through the eyes of children from both sides of the conflict. The actors give wonderful performances (especially the children), and we see the disintegration of Lebanon through their own accounts.
For anyone who is interested in the country, this moive is a must see. Even for anyone after a good film, this is still a must see. A film full of sadness, tragedy and humour, it is a very good film, which should have been given more attention, and surely would have if it were Hollywood, but Hollywood films are never this good anyway!
PS The film was banned in Lebanon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best possible Lebanese cinema, 10 Sep 2008
This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Lebanese cinema was very much impacted by the long war that they went through. It has produced some remarkable gems that somehow transcend the 'war genre' and speak about a much wider range of issues.

This is one of a number of films that I have seen that tell the story of Lebanon's tragedy through the eyes of children ('In the Shadows of the City' another one that I have seen recently). I don't think that any of the others are as moving, funny or poignant as this one. It is thoroughly remarkable. The Lebanese people are portrayed so tenderly, so accurately that I was very moved by this. The children's adventures trying to get their film developed and the bra scene that leads to the fabulous parlour of 'Om Mahmood' is amazing and it left me thankful that war has never come to my own country as well as inspired by the heroism of all of those who have had their lives interrupted by conflict. An amazing achievement!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollercoaster of emotions, not about war but about life, 2 Nov 2000
By A Customer
A stunning movie from the head of the second camera unit on all of Tarantino's film, west beirut offers a rollercoaster ride of emotions that will leave you emotionally drained and elated in one big package.
Watch this with intelligent friends and change your views on many of the stereotypes you have in life - and connect with many of those emotions that most of us pretend we don't have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 29 May 2014
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This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film is a gem, very rare to find in DVD format. I watched as a teenager and haven't been able to find since. Item in great condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Really good film, Done really well and realistic. Captures the mood of the times very well. I would recomend to anyone.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars West Beirut, 25 May 2004
This review is from: West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Interesting and very enjoyable film - watched it with some lebanese friends who also enjoyed it. Subtitles were useful as my arabic isn't very good. Didn't seem to take sides and wasn't too informative about the reasons for the civil war, but didn't need to be to tell the story. Only downside was that the end was a bit unexpected - maybe it was a bit to short - or maybe I didn't understand it!
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West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999]
West Beyrouth [DVD] [1999] by Ziad Doueiri (DVD - 2000)
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