Beirut the Encounter

(Beyroutou el lika)

Cosponsored by the Arab Film and Media Institute

  • Introduction

    Jonathan Mackris, who guest curated this series, is a doctoral student in film and media at UC Berkeley.

The film’s allure is derived from the tender, melancholy atmosphere inherent to the images of the damaged city and the characters’ soft voices.


Haitham al-Amin, Nadine Acoury, Renée Deek, Husam Sabbah,

Beirut the Encounter, the second fiction feature by Alaouié, who died last September (1941–2021), marks an interesting transition from the stark realism of his debut, Kafr Kassem (1975), to something more elliptical, in the style of Alain Resnais. In this film, set during the Lebanese Civil War, two young people separated by the fighting—one a Christian, the other a Muslim—make tape recordings for each other discussing, in their view, why they believe fighting continues in Beirut. Writing on this film, the philosopher Gilles Deleuze noted, “Speech is truly seen forcing a difficult path through the ruins . . . [The director] has filmed speech as something visible, as a material in movement.” As in all Alaouié’s films, the slow tracking movements of the camera bring its most exciting moments.

Jonathan Mackris
  • Ahmad Baydoun
  • Charlie Van Damme
  • Alexis Grivas
  • Arabic
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 97 mins
  • Daoud Alaouié
Additional Info
  • Restored by the Royal Film Archive of Belgium – CINEMATEK