Philippe Aractingi (dir), 'Sous les Bombes (Under the Bombs)'

IssueMarch 2008
Review by Patrick Nicholson

Under the Bombs is a stunning and intensely moving film set amongst the physical and emotional devastation of Lebanon under the Israeli onslaught of 2006.

The storyline is simple yet powerful: Zeina arrives in Beirut on a desperate mission to find her son in the confusion and terror of war-ravaged southern Lebanon.

Taxi driver Tony, a Christian, whilst initially motivated by making a fast buck, is drawn into Zeina's odyssey. Taking strength from each other, they see the quest through to a heart-stopping conclusion.

Filmed under the most precarious of circumstances during the war itself, Under the Bombs uses only two professional actors, with other characters - refugees, soldiers, journalists, militants - all playing their own roles.

The images of the country are unforgettable; whole towns flattened Hiroshima-like, contrasting with beautiful rolling landscapes of Lebanese countryside.

The opening sequence provides some of the most terrifying and instructive images of modern warfare, with wide distant shots of a Lebanese town on a hillside disappearing in a series of huge, unimaginable explosions.

This is no crude polemic but a work of passion, anger and sensitivity. Under the Bombs is an accomplished piece of film-making that works on all levels. Go see it. Get all your friends to go. This film is simply a must see.

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