Wednesday, August 29, 2007

lebanese films' cocktail

interesting blog about lebanese films

Falafel By Michel Kammoun

Caramel by Nadine Labaki



Mission: To climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2007

To plant the Lebanese flag on the highest peak in Africa. At an altitude of nearly 6,000 meters, the team will set a record for the first ever financial transaction on the Lebanese Stock Exchange from this height on earth.

The team preparing for Kili in Snowdon in May 07

Why? To raise £200,000 for educational projects in Lebanon

Following the summer conflict of 2006 and years of neglect and under-investment, the schools in Lebanon are not suitable to provide high quality education.

As a first step to addressing this problem, we intend to raise £200k, which will secure a further £1.25 million from UNICEF, to improve the quality of education in 25 schools in rural Lebanon. Moreover, IMC UK will also commit a further £120k to this project, which will take the total amount raised to £1.57 million.

The team preparing for Kili in Scafell Pike in June 07

Who? Lebanon United and IMC UK in conjunction with UNICEF

Five young Lebanese bankers will be climbing Kilimanjaro for Lebanon United to raise money for an IMC UK (International Medical Corps) project supported by UNICEF International.

For more information on this project, please contact
For website related queries please contact

Under the bombs

Philippe Aractingi: 'I wanted to present war differently'

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 24/08/2007

Philippe Aractingi tells David Gritten how he shot 'Under the Bombs' in the middle of a real conflict

The next few months are shaping up as a cinematic season of war, with a batch of heavyweight Hollywood films dealing with events in the Middle East. But none was made under more treacherous, life-threatening conditions than Under the Bombs, a part-British production that has its world première at the Venice Film Festival next week.

Under the Bombs
Jolting: Under the Bombs

Its background is the Israeli bombing of Lebanon last summer - and, remarkably, its Lebanese director, Philippe Aractingi, shot part of the film while the war still raged.

"I decided to shoot in several stages," he says on a recent visit to London. "I was torn between a need to act quickly before the dust of the bombing had settled, and a necessity to remain objective, so as to avoid making a mere partisan pamphlet."

He and screenwriter Michel Léviant had only a broad idea for a script: Zeina, a Lebanese woman, arrives in Beirut searching for her son, who had been staying with her sister in southern Lebanon. At the airport, she looks in vain for a taxi, but only Toni, a driver from the south, will agree to take her. Their search for the boy is the central story.

Aractingi began shooting in Lebanon 10 days after the war began last summer. His wife is French, so the French army repatriated them and their children for their own safety. But three days after a ceasefire was announced, he returned on a military ship to resume filming.


"Lebanon was then burying its dead," he says, "and UN forces were landing on the shores of a land still under the shock of bombing." His two lead actors - Nada Abou Farhat (Zeina) and Georges Khabbaz (Toni) - improvised scenes with Lebanese citizens, refugees whose homes had been destroyed by bombs, and international journalists covering the war.

In one scene, Farhat is shown asking journalists at a real UN press conference if they know the whereabouts of the fictional boy. Real refugees tell her and Khabbaz about the devastation of their homes and lives. All these scenes show the rubble of a country reeling from aerial bombing attacks; they are almost painfully authentic.

"The reality was infinitely more dramatic than any tragedy I could have invented," Aractingi says. "So I decided to simply capture it as it was." Armed with this arresting footage, he left Lebanon and devised a script with Léviant, incorporating the scenes already shot. These jolting scenes would be used to lure potential investors.

Last October, Léviant went to the Dinard Film Festival, where he met the British film producer Paul Raphael (Anita and Me), who was so enthused by hearing how the war scenes in Under the Bombs were shot that he called around to raise funds. By December, there was enough money for Aractingi to return to Lebanon to shoot the fictional part of the story.

Now Under the Bombs is ready to be unveiled in Venice. As Aractingi points out, it has been just a year from its conception to its completion: "I wanted to present war differently," he says now. "I didn't want to show dead people. But they were there, crushed under stones and rubble. And it's for them that I made this film."

Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright