Review #Venezia74: The Insult

The Insult is directed by Ziad Doueiri, who has been Tarantino’s camera assistant for Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs. This collaboration could probably have influenced Ziad’s filming style, but he actually reveals that he didn’t think of the filming part, he just filmed.

the insult cast

Ziad likes to move the camera, and this is the reason why the viewer can feel like he’s inside the film, fighting with the actors.

the insult cast

The story is between Toni, Lebanese, and Yasser, Palestinian, who start a fight through insults – that gives the name to the film – and physical aggression. This is not the story of a street fight between people who have been rude and means to one another, but’s the story of a conflict between Lebanon and Palestine in Beirut. It’s a conflict that has been stoked with civil wars and hate speeches.

The story of Toni and Yasser wants to put people in front of reality: the war was over in 1990, but it isn’t over in people’s heads. The deep hate that runs in the Lebanese veins and the precarious situation of Palestinian refugees are the main theme of this film. Ziad wanted to make a universal film about returning human. In fact, the women in this film have the role to keep the men calm, because they know what will happen and don’t want to see it happen. Even the little girl has an important role in the film: she is the future generation, she is hope.

insult cast

Ziad has been able to depict the heavy atmosphere that one can breathe in these war-torn States only through a simple, but yet complex, fight. A wrong drainpipe, a “sorry” that never comes until the very end of the film, a difficult childbirth and two broken ribs. The story about the drainpipe has actually happened to Ziad, and from this episode he started thinking about a script with his writer Jouelle Touma. These are things that happen in everyday life, in many places all over the world, but why do they become of national importance? Why does a simple dispute over an insult takes the State to the edge of another civil war?

insult rita hayek

This is what one can see in Ziad’s film: a story of a war-torn country like Lebanon, which has an explosive society, and that has an enormous, deep wound.
The speeches of the two lawyers in Court – scenes which were very difficult to shoot to not make them boring and static –  makes the viewer think more about what is happening in this world, what is happening in places that we hear about on the news but never see with our own eyes.

A great cinematography that gives a wide and devasting picture of Beirut, and great acting for Adel Karam, Diamand Bou Abboud and Rita Hayek. The acting, especially, is very important because all of the actors come from the same places where the characters live in. Adel is really a Christian Lebanese and Kamel El Basha is Palestinian. This is the reason why they were much more credible than if they were from somewhere different.

All photographs by Alessio Costantino

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