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Beirut, The Encounter (15*)


A group of people stand in a kitchen in a still from the film.

Screening as part of their new City Tours strand, SAFAR Film Festival invites you to explore 1980s Beirut through the eyes of pioneering Lebanese director Borhane Alaouiés.

Borhane Alaouié made Beirut, the Encounter, his second feature fiction, in 1981. 

The film follows lead characters Zeina and Haidar, who met at university, but lost touch with each other due to the division of the city during the Lebanese Civil War. When telephone communication is restored between the East and West sides of Beirut, they attempt to see each other one last time before she emigrates to the US. An impossible encounter transforms into cathartic confessions where each side of the city is trying in vain, to be heard by the other. 

Beirut, The Encounter got selected in Venice Film Festival in the same year and competed for the Berlinale Golden Bear in 1982.

1981, Lebanon, Tunisia and Belgium, dir Borhane Alaoui, 101 min

About The Director

Born in 1941 in Arnoun, South of Lebanon, Borhane Alaouié studied filmmaking in INSAS in Brussels. Influenced by the state of rebellious euphoria that took hold of the Arab intelligentsia in the 70s and by May 1968 in France, Alaouié came back to Beirut to make films. He met Lebanese filmmakers such as Maroun Baghdadi, Jocelyne Saab, Jean Chamoun, Randa Chahal, and others and collaborated with them to establish new grounds for Lebanese cinema.

This new generation pushed Lebanese cinema forward into a more aesthetical form that addresses a variety of subjects tackling human and social matters, individual and collective destinies. This cinematic wave aimed to reflect the history of the city of Beirut and the Lebanese society, its individuals and its transformations. 

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