In a recent film, co-directors Daniele Rugo and Abi Weaver consider the tragic extent of the Lebanese Civil War. Following the experiences of three ex-fighters from different sides of the conflict, the documentary “About a War” reopens old wounds while paving a path towards healing. In the words of Sarah Khalil, who interviewed Weaver for an Al Araby article, “Communities are still yet to hear the experiences of others who now they call neighbors. In the film, the confessions of the ex-fighters are woven together to present narratives likely unheard by the other side.”
“About a War” traces the stories of Ahed, a Palestinian refugee, Nassim, a Communist commander, and Assad, a right-wing Christian intelligence officer. Searching for what drives young teenagers into political violence, and how these now-adults confront the lingering traumas of war, Rugo and Weaver delve into a topic rarely spoken about in public. The film confronts the general amnesia in the country and the widespread refusal to face the violence of the war, challenging those who blame the war -- commonly referred to as merely the ‘events’ -- on foreigners while refusing to admit the domestic causes of the conflict.
In the words of Nasim Ahmed in an article for Middle East Monitor, “About a War” succeeds in “portraying the brutality of the Lebanese conflict without falling into the trap of many war documentaries that fetishize violence in a manner that is unnecessary in trying to create the impact filmmakers seek.”
“Documentary Examines Different Narratives of Lebanese War from the Perspective of Major Participants” by Naomi Pham is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming issue of Al Jadid, Vol. 23, No. 76, 2019.
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