Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beirut Hotel: Waste of time

I watched Beirut Hotel. Again, I think we started to see some Lebanese production with a good script, good acting (especially Fadi Abi Samra and definitely not Rodni Haddad) and good shooting techniques, but does that alone make a good movie? I mean come on, where is the story? The movie claims to be a spy movie or a thriller; I wasn't thrilled at all, not even for a second, throughout the whole movie. I didn't laugh, I didn't cry, I didn't feel anything, I didn't think about anything, it just wasted two hours of my time. When is someone going to come up with a Lebanese movie without all those cliches about Lebanon and without all those "this is Beirut", and "this is how we live", and "I am Lebanese, if you lie to me, I kill you"? what does that have to do with you being Lebanese? The main idea of the movie which was bluntly and explicitly mentioned is this: "if you think you understand Lebanon, that means it wasn't well explained to you". So here is another Lebanese movie that reinforces all those cliches about Lebanon, the complex country that is beyond explanation, beyond the grasp of humankind, the unique (in a bad way this time but still unique), the exotic, confused, complicated, different, etc. well, you know what? Lebanon is not so complicated and if you find it hard to explain it maybe that's because you don't understand it yourself so how about you don't make a movie about something you do not understand, because to me it is simple. Complications in Lebanon are no less than in any other country, you just think your country is special, and complicated in a special way. The problem is square and simple: Lebanon is a racist, sectarian, selfish, hypocrite, fake, and pretentious country with people who whine all day about miseries they brought upon themselves, who misread their history and keep recreating it, who victimize themselves to shy away from facing what they really are: racist, sectarian, selfish, hypocrite, fake, and pretentious people. What are you trying to tell people here Danielle Arbid? You want to make a spy movie with unnecessary sex scenes, go ahead, but I still don't get the point. So now instead of the virgin woman living in the village, you bring the sexy liberal woman who lives in the city? how creative! Now the movie should never have been censored. But again, was it really censored or did Arbid sign an agreement with the censorship committee (funny there is such a thing) which she later violated? The censorship committee gave her permission to shoot the film on condition she doesn't mention the Hariri Assassination to which she allegedly agreed. Arbid should have made her case against censorship back then and refuse to sign but instead she produced the original script ignoring the condition and later made her case against censorship. It was stupid to impose such a condition by the committee in the first place but it wouldn't have made any difference if Hariri was not mentioned. But forget about all of that, say you are not Lebanese and you are watching the movie without any background about Lebanon, say you are a Vietnamese watching it, assuming you get through the first few minutes and you don't switch to something else, unless you are just waiting to see some boobs as someone mentioned to me, you would be watching a movie that tells you from the start that there is a conspiracy going on, and so you wait till the end of the movie to see how all of this is going to end (is the French lawyer a spy? is Abbas an Israeli agent? does he know too much? or was he just a victim of a bigger conspiracy?) only to realize after two hours that the conspiracy, the riddle you want to see solved, will never be solved, and you will never understand anything, why? because this is Lebanon, one of the characters tells you in case you didn't realize that two hours had already passed and there is no more time to give you answers. You would end the movie with one thought: Thank God I am Vietnamese.


  1. Yepp . Watched the first few seconds of Beirut hotel (Clip) ,then i was reminded why i left the country , but let congratulate the writer for a pretty accurate description in less than 10 words :racist, sectarian, selfish, hypocrite, fake, and pretentious people.
    I’ll add one of my own " shallow "

  2. Good point! Indeed, how did I miss shallow!

  3. You couldn't have worded it in a better way. Movie's soooo bad and a complete waste of time! It should be banned worldwide and not just in Lebanon!

  4. you're totally right!the movie resembles our society shallow ,pretentious and vain !!!!

    1. Now I am so curious to see this movie . Can someone tell me where to rent it ? Anyway as far as the above mentioned comments that Lebanon and it's people are shallow, racist , pretenstious sectarian , selfish , fake or whatever .. Actually I think this describes modern day society in most any country. Especially here in the USA.. As an American Lebanese I love Lebaon and the love of family that still exists in Lebanon . Unfortunately many Lebanese left the country with a bitter heart and find it difficult to see all the good through the thickness of the corruption . The people of Lebaon are survivors and they make the best of life. Chinese Kung Foo movies never make sense to we always watch them in the states. BTW . I'm US born of 1 Lebanese parent so the love of the Lebanese culture is genetic..

  5. So the shallow, racist , pretenstious sectarian , selfish , fake exist in modern day society in most any country, but you seem to say that the love of family exists particularly in Lebanon and not elsewhere? I argue in the post that Lebanon is like any other country, there is fake here and elsewhere, there is family love here and elsewhere, family hate here and elsewhere... what annoys me actually is that some Lebanese describe it as a super nation, a glorious nation, paradise on earth, with people genetically superior. You say your love of Lebanese "culture" (I dont know what that means, there is no Lebanese culture per se outside an Arab/levantine/ Mediterranean culture)is genetic! That's exactly what annoys me. Btw, I live in Lebanon, and I do see the good through the thickness of corruption (I like that description) and I love many things about this country but what I hate is that the reasons the Lebanese (and the genetic lebanese such as you) often mention about why this country deserves to be loved are always the wrong ones. Yes the people of Lebanon are survivors, especially the people of the South, those who endured long years of Israeli occupation and wars. And yes, they make the best of life only not on rooftop bars. Those are the real survivors.

  6. Dear Admin. Maybe I am expressing myself incorrectly. I absolutely do not believe the Lebabese are of a genectcally superior kind... In fact I see many dysfunctional behaviors especially many of the Lebanese plagued with OCD.. It is hard for me to describe , since I am not highly educated , but i have traveled a decent amount in my 47 years of life. Let me say I feel the family is still strong in the Lebanese culture compared to Europe , Canada and the US. I have never been to Asia , Russia or India.. I guess maybe it is because the old fashion traditions are still respected for the most part in Lebanon. How many couples live together in Lebanon not married or before their marriage ? Not too many. Where can you find a country where the children speak 2 and so etimes 3 languages by age 5 to 8 years old ? Here in the US we can barely get our children to learn a second language in High School. Right ? I wish the US could get some inspiration from the Lebanese.
    Also North , South , East West whatever.. All Lebanese are survivors. If my history is correct Lebanon has for the most part of it's existence been conquered and ruled by other countries. Persia , Romans , Ottomans ,French Syrian.... I believe the survivor traits come from this background . I sometimes wish that Lebanon was still perhaps a French colony and maybe the people would have an easier life. Who knows . Just a
    thought ... And Lebanon is a beautiful country that looks like my paradise. Maybe not to everybody . I was
    blessed not to have endured the times of war except for a few bad nights in 1983,84 and the summer war in
    2006. So I can see why some Lebanese have harsh feelings for the coumtry and the corrupt government.
    Hey BTW I'm sorry if any of my words annoyed you. Its just that when I visit Libnan I come back to work and my life here in the US feeling refreshed , inspired and stronger . I describe Lebanon to all of my American side of the family as a strong hard, beautiful country made of rock. And the people are just as strong (not meaning genetically better lol) as the rocks the land is made of.. Nothing comes easy to the Lebanese.. Even to us tourists .. Nothing comes easy. Especially traveling with children.. Lights on.lights off. A/C no A /C. Traffic , heat , people always cutting lines... Lol. I wish every American could travel outside the USA so they could get a good perspective on LIFE !