UNA-NY Screening the Issues
Please join us for this limited MEMBERS ONLY screening
followed by a Q+A with
Film Director and Producer
Friday | February 9, 2018
6:30 p.m. | Registration
7:00 p.m. | Screening
9:00 p.m. | Q+A
Note: screening begins promptly at 7 p.m.
Park Avenue Screening Room
500 Park Avenue (at 59th Street)
New York, NY
Join us for this special free screening, of a film now in current NYC release, which will be followed by a Q&A with the film's director and producer, Said Doueiri. A limited number of seats are left — so first-come first-served!
2017 Official Oscar Entry – Best Foreign Language Film (Lebanon)
Official Selection Venice International Film Festival 2017
Official Selection Telluride Film Festival 2017
Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival 2017
In today's Beirut, Palestinian refugee Yasser (Kamel El Basha, who won best actor award at Venice last year) has been assigned to fix building code violations in an insular Lebanese community. When Yasser attempts to fix a drainpipe protruding from the home of Tony (Adel Karam), a Lebanese Christian, Tony tries to ignore the request. Yasser begins the repair anyway and Tony lashes out, destroying the handyman's work, prompting Yasser to shoot back with a vulgarity. Tony goes to Yasser's boss and demands an apology, which Yasser finds hard to do.
When an attempt at reconciliation between the two men is organized, the increasingly angry Tony lets loose with a racially charged insult striking at the core of Yasser's Palestinian heritage. An angry Yasser then punches Tony in the stomach, breaking a couple of his ribs in the process.
The men subsequently face off in court, with Tony demanding an apology for the assault and Yasser standing his ground. With neither man retaining a lawyer and insubstantial evidence on both sides, the judge throws the case out, only to have it advance to a higher court.
Tony engages the Christian establishment's most prominent prosecutor Wajdi Wehbe (Camille Salamé) for the case, while the young lawyer Nadine (Diamond Abou Abboud), who sympathizes with the plight of the nation's refugees, takes on Yasser's defense.
A media circus quickly begins to grow around the high-profile case, which exacerbates the already-high tensions between the Muslim and Christian groups in Lebanon's Arab community. Inside the courtroom, the trial begins to move past the specifics of the case as the lawyers begin investigating the opponents' private lives and backgrounds. Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, Tony and Yasser struggle with their personal lives and obligations — Tony with his wife Shirine (Rita Hayek) and Yasser with his own, Manal (Christine Choueiri) — as they begin to realize that their skirmish has grown far beyond a matter of pride.
In an interview, the director Ziad Doueiri was asked if the film's premise springs from an observation about Lebanese society.
"No… it was something that actually happened to me several years ago in Beirut. I had an argument with a plumber, something very banal, but tempers quickly flared, and I said practically the same words as those in the film. Joëlle Touma, my co-writer on this film, was present that day. She persuaded me to go apologize to him. But the plumber refused to accept my apology. I wound up going to his boss to present my apology. When his boss used this along with other reasons to fire the man, I instantly took the man's defense."
We invite our UNA-NY Members to join us for this limited member-only screening, which will be followed by a Q&A with the film's director and producer, Ziad Doueiri.
Only UNA-NY Members have guaranteed admission to all our Screening the Issues film events, and attend for free or pay the discounted Members' admission, while Student Members attend most events for free. Our events are often sold-out, so we strongly encourage membership with UNA-NY to guarantee your seats! Why not take advantage?