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Interesting Film set in war torn Beirut.,
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This review is from: Zaytoun [DVD] (DVD)
Set in war ravaged Beirut in 1982 during what became known as The First Lebanon War we meet a young, Palestinian, refugee, boy called Fahed. His mother is dead and he lives with his Father and Grandfather in a flea blown `house' in one of the camps, I believe it is Shatilla which became infamous for the massacre that took place there and in Sabra in September of that year. This point however, is not alluded to in this film. He wants to make money on the Beirut streets where Palestinians are none too welcomed by the local `hosts' play football and not go to school.
Instead he is forced to do militia training and life seems anything but good, in his class the desks of his dead friends have a framed photograph of them as a small shrine but also to let the kids remember. Then during an Israeli air raid his father is killed. This makes Fahed take militia a lot more seriously, so when a plane is shot down he is the first to want to capture the pilot. This turns out to be Yoni (Stephen Dorff - `Public Enemies'). Fahed just wants to kill him, but he soon realises that with the help of his enemy he might be able to get back to the land he still calls home. What follows is an unholy alliance of the two and a bizarre road trip through the war zone. That is an expansion of the advertised synopsis so is not a plot spoiler in case you were concerned.
This is a really well made film, the attention to detail is excellent and I could not really tell if it was CGI for the planes and armaments, which are incidental, this is most definitely not a war film. It is sad it is moving and it will make you think. This highlights a war almost forgotten and still stoically ignored by most of the rest of the world and if a film can shine light on the tragedy, then it has my vote every day. Stephen Dorff is really good; he tends to be always the bridesmaid and never the bride in his films and I think he is actually an under rated actor and hope he gets more lead role gigs like this one.
It is in Arabic, Hebrew and English, but most of the dialogue is English. The sub titles are all in white and at times are virtually impossible to read, which was a pain. It was a co-op of funding groups that made this from France, the UK and others. The title track is from the lovely band `Dry The River' which was a nice touch. There is not a lot wrong with this even the length was just right at 110 minutes, some will question some of the on screen outcomes, but I for one thought it was well made, very entertaining and nicely produced film, for fans of world cinema or those who like to tip their cinematic toe into the unknown.