Thursday, 15 February 2018


I pretty much enjoyed watching The Insult in the cinema last week. Being a Lebanese film, from a "political" perspective I would prefer it to have been shot in French as original language rather than Arab, but I was lucky that it was the contrary, cause that way it was screened in Arab with French subtitles. With my French (lack of) level, reading the subtitles is much easier than trying to understand spoken French...

Long in short the film is about how a small dispute between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee degenerates into a serious problem that ends up turning into a state affair. During this course, it succeeds in showing us the chaos in which Lebanon has lived (and continues to live) for so long. If you think that the conflict in Lebanon is just a matter of Christians vs Muslims, you're pretty wrong, cause there's much more to it: Christians, all the different Muslim sects (Sunnis and Druze, Shia and Alewite), Leftists and particularly important, Palestinians.

When the film starts, the Christian is the bad guay, and the Palestinian the good guy (what unusual...) but as the film evolves and the past is brought to the present, things get much more complex and quite less dichotomic. The deep disdain that the Christian character feels for the Palestinians stems from the fact that he and his family are also refugees in their own country. At the beginning of the Lebanese war alleged Palestinian forces looted and massacred the Christian village where he lived. Everybody knows about the Palestinian drama, but very few people know about the Christian drama, and this is salt over open wounds. As the lawyer says during the trial "no people should have the monopoly of suffering".

The film also reflects how hard is to this day the life of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (this documentary shows it quite well) but it could give the impression that it's just Christians who are against them. I think this is something beyond religious lines (bear in mind also that some Palestinians are Christians or even non religious), and is much more a Lebanese against "invaders" issue. Bearing in mind that the Presence of Palestinian forces (after Black September) in Lebanese soil was the last (but pretty important) drop that led to the Lebanese civil war, one could understand (but not justify) a certain "animosity" towards Palestinians and a desire of putting them out of the country...

I'm aware of few films about the Lebanese war, basically, the magnificent Incendies and the also rather good Waltz with Bashir, but it seems I can't find any recent documentary about the war itself (not about its consequences in nowadays Lebanon).

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