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The Insult Movie Review (Venice Film Festival 2017)

The Insult Movie Review

Co-writer-director Ziad Doueiri’s drama, ‘The Insult.’
Phot Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

Title: The Insult

Director: Ziad Doueri

Cast: Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Camille Salameh, Diamand Bou Abboud, Rita Hayek, Talal Jurdi, Christine Choueiri, Julia Kassar, Rifaat Torbey and Carlos Chahine.

How easy it is to portray political conflicts in a conciliatory way falling into the pit of excessively moral and benevolent behaviour. This is not the case of ‘The Insult’ directed by Ziad Doueri. The social critique is done to both parties, without exaggerations nor reductions, and the resolution is exemplary and inspirational.

The story is set in contemporary Beirut and the personal controversy, that gets entangled in the media circus, regards Lebanese Christian Toni and a Palestinian refugee, Yasser. These two hot-tempered males have involuntarily triggered the resentment between Lebanese Christians and Palestinians. The nationwide crisis begins from a simple plumbing argument between the two and evolves into a legal-thriller. During the trial, the lawyers discussing the case retrace the excruciating 15-year Civil War that ended in 1990 and its aftermath. The region is still tense. Religious and ethnic hostilities thrive.

And yet Toni and Yasser also epitomize the belligerence of men in trivial matters. They could be a couple of quarreling neighbors with the same culture and religion. But their different background, that nurtures their initial hatred for one another, opens a page in history that some people may have neglected or forgotten.

As their skeletons in the closet are revealed we understand their rash behaviour. The war has affected them profoundly and nurtured their prejudice towards their opposing party. Both men have secret wounds and stubbornly demand respect, but do not want anyone to feel sorry for them. They insult each other referring to the other’s nationality and yet they do not want to be pitied for the horrors they have lived through the war because of their ethnic group. Their composure in wanting their quarrel to leave out the way the racial persecution has affected them is humbling.

Technical: B

Acting: A

Story: A

Overall: A-

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi is a storyteller, who speaks and writes fluently in English, Italian, French and Spanish. She is member of the Italian Association of Journalists and of the Foreign Press in New York City. She studied in a British school in Milan, from nursery to high school, after which she graduated in Political Sciences, got a Masters in screen-writing and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles.

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