West Beirut


TAREK NOUEIRI, now living in Paris, receives a package from his father whom he hasn’t seen since he left Lebanon eighteen years ago. Enclosed, is a super 8 film roll which TAREK screens; the projected images takes us back to Beirut, April 14, 1975, the first day of the Lebanese civil war. ise. TAREK and OMAR, both Moslems, and May, a Christian girl, live on the West Side of Beirut, the Moslem section. The Christians rule the East Side. This division becomes the symbol of a divided country and a divided people. At first, the three are oblivious to the tragedies occurring in front of their eyes; three youngsters roaming the city, exploring their sexuality, befriending militias, and making home movies. HALA is TAREK’s mother. She, more than her family, experiences the burdens of the civil war that has made friends and neighbors as divided as the city itself, she begs her husband to flee the country but RIAD, TAREK’s father, is realistic: the Middle East, in his view, has always been in conflict and always will; therefore, emigration is out of the question. The war starts taking its toll on OMAR; he is forced to become a devout Moslem, causing tensions with May. May, doesn’t buy into the religious conflict; she likes OMAR, he saved her and TAREK in many dangerous situations.



Brussels International Film Festival
* Audience Award


Cannes Film Festival
* Director’s Fortnight
* François Chalais Award
* Arab Critic’s Prize

Festival of Arabic Cinema in Paris
* Grand Prize

Carthage Film Festival
* Best First Film
* COE Award

Toronto International Film Festival
* International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI)

Taipei Film Festival
* Jury Grand Prize

Valladolid International Film Festival
* Youth Jury Award


* Official Lebanese Entry

Golden Globe
* In competition for the Best Foreign Film

Fribourg International Film Festival
* Best Script

Big Eddy Film Festival in Narrowsburg
* Best Feature Film