Eric Motjer’s new feature film portraits four of the most prominent members of the Lebanese Christian elite, and is a fascinating look into a lifestyle most people never see, or perhaps never knew existed.
A degree of seclusion
About 40 per cent of Lebanon’s population is Christian. Seemingly numerous, this number is shrinking and so is its privileged community of wealthy people. They pass their wealth from one generation to the next, navigating the region’s instabilities by partying and looking for economic opportunities in its changing state of affairs. In their world, there is money to be made when disaster strikes and parties to keep spirits high. It is an approach that seems eccentric – if not outrageous – and is reserved for the few who can afford to stay safe, both from harm and from the need to secure daily necessities. Yet the benefits of their situation come with a degree of seclusion. Wrapped in beautiful clothes and inhabiting beautiful houses, they pass through common life realities only in transit, safe in their expensive bulletproof cars. They connect with each other and their common past, but seen in perspective, their existence is bittersweet, as their golden age has passed and is not coming back.
The opening scene sees the camera approaching from over the sea, reaching Beirut’s shore at sunset, while a man and a woman recall a story in voiceover. Soon we get to see them, a middle-aged couple looking well and tanned. They recall how when the war with Israel ended in 1982 – together with their friends – they made t-shirts with their names on the back, the front saying «Alive and tanned, Summer ‘82’», the text placed around an Israeli boat and a sunset. «War or no war, life goes on. Good life goes on, I’m sure», says the man. «Stay with us for a week and you will see how we live, just enjoying life. You won’t believe this is Beirut», he adds.
Except for the women’s Botox excesses, everything about …
Dear reader. You have read 4 articles this month. Could we ask you to support MODERN TIMES REVIEW with a running subscription or login below if you have one? It is only quarterly 9 euro, and you will get full access to around 2000 articles, all our e-magazines – and receive the coming printed magazines.