‘L’Insulte’: Understanding in the midst of conflict

Director Ziad Doueiri during the press conference on ‘L’insult’

10/26/2017. – A collision with a Palestinian was the “spark” from which L’Insulte (The Insult), by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, came to be, and to compete in the Official Section of the 62nd Seminci. The true story in which a man insulted the director because water fell on him when he was working on fixing the facade of his house was only the trigger, because what lies behind the story is what Doueiri lived “for forty years” in Beirut.

The conflict is represented by a confrontation between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee, who end up in court for an exchange of insults. “I just wanted to write a story of two aggressive people, one against the other, who in the end discover they have things in common,” Doueiri explained.

With Adel Karam, Christine Choueiri and Kamel El Basha as the main stars of the cast, Ziad Doueiri wanted “very strong women” in his film. “One of the biggest problems we have is that men dominate society. If in the Arab world women came into politics and power, surely everything would be different,” he said.

The Lebanese director grew up in a family linked to the judicial world and “full of stories” of Arabs, Muslims, Jews… it is “a fucked-up mess,” he said, and ended up translating that mixture to his film. Based in France, he acknowledged that he finances his works there, but he always tells stories about his country. His previous work, The Attack, was banned in Lebanon. The Insult has had better luck, although it has not been easy to screen.

Surprisingly, the Lebanese government “quickly gave the ok,” but the film had to receive the approval of a committee, Ziad Doueiri reported. The committee was made up of Muslims, Christians, people from the political right and left… “Everyone had to give their opinion, and not everyone approved, but it had the majority.” Finally, after “three months of negotiation” the film received the approval. “It seemed impossible that they would let it happen, I’m elated, it’s number one at the box office,” explained the director.

Nevertheless, the film was screened with the initial warning that it does not represent the opinion of the Lebanese government, but only that of the director, something “stupid” according to the filmmaker: “the film speaks for itself, nothing needs to be said about it.” The director ensured that he is in no way looking for controversy and has repeatedly valued the creative freedom that exists in France and Spain. “Certain rights exist here; where I come from, things are different, you cannot express yourself the way you want.” “You have no idea how fortunate you are to live here and be able to say what you want,” he insisted.

Posted in 62nd Seminci.