Forget Dubai and Doha, it’s only Beirut that can showcase truly boundary-pushing, issue-driven films!
Originally posted on Variety:
Modestly tucked away below a Dunkin’ Donuts in Beirut’s built-up Ain el-Rammaneh district, the Abraj multiplex does not often play host to international movie stars. Yet while gracing its linoleum-floored halls on Oct. 1 for the Middle Eastern premiere of her film “Clouds of Sils Maria,” Juliette Binoche seemed sufficiently overwhelmed by the reception to tear up visibly before leaving the stage, reappearing in a more jovial mood for the more elegantly appointed afterparty.
The occasion was the opening night of the Beirut Intl. Film Festival, and Binoche’s reaction seemed appropriate for an event that aims for a delicate balance of glamour and gravitas. Pushing liberal social ideals and freedom of expression in a vibrant country still culturally scarred by the Lebanese Civil War, it’s a more intimate affair than other fests in the region like Doha or Dubai, which is how festival director Colette Naufal likes it: Its bijou…
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