Lebanon: To the Oscars!

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Despite the controversial series of movie censorship that Lebanon has been witnessing lately, our own The Insult by Ziad Doueiri has been announced as an official nominee for the “Best Foreign Film” category at the 2018 Academy Awards.

The 90th Oscar marks the first time ever for Lebanon to be participating in this noble ceremony, causing yet another push for the Lebanese Arts & Culture community to rebel against censorship.

How Come?

As much as the mass public has been shocked by the news, as a movie buff, I saw this coming. Doueiri’s work has forever been exceptional. However, The Insult, particularly combines all Doueiri’s strengths not only in cinematography, but also in storytelling. Unfortunately, war is a topic that us, Lebanese, can excel at since all present generations have gone through its aftermath. To make art, your products have to reflect cultural genuity. Even though war movies became our thing, but we never had a dualistic story-line portrayed so boldly. While watching this film, it’s not the hidden messages that you spend time seeking rather than the hidden feelings; the feelings we fear and runaway from in our society. With his two-sided narrative, Doueiri punches us in the face leaving us stuck in facing what we don’t want to face: true tolerance of “the other.”

How So?

The director’s outstanding storyboard and script was greatly enhanced with writer Joelle Touma because otherwise, no matter how much Doueiri aims towards objectivity, having someone from the other side sharing the right phrases that raise accurate sensations makes the tale so pure; a win-win situation from both ends. Not to mention the excellent casting and the memorable performances of Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha and Camille Salameh who all received international appreciation for their characters.

Let’s Wish 

With this fantastic beginning of 2018 for Lebanese cinema, let’s wish we receive this award. Ziad, we’re sorry. Some of us might have been politically harsh on you recently, but with or without the award, you already made history today, and we’re so honored to add you to our list of stuff we’re proud of. Thankfully, this time it’s more than just a large Tabbouleh bowl. Let’s wish for more Oscar-material movies to come, and for less cultural terrorism and banning.

Last but not least, it may be important to mention that The Insult has been picked over an Israeli film that was also shortlisted for the same nomination.

by Miriam Atallah.

 

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