Sunday, January 22, 2012
Beirut Hotel: Waste of time
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.