When Patrick Perrault (Girardot), a French photographer covering the war in Beirut, is taken hostage, his life turns into a waking nightmare. Kept blindfold in an airless, initially darkened room, prey to injury, illness and sheer terror, Perrault alternates between simply struggling to survive and trying to persuade the more communicative of his continually changing captors to help him escape. Lebanese director Bagdadi's gripping thriller is exemplary of its kind. Neither flinching from nor sensationalising the violence, humiliation and sordid circumstances of Perrault's ordeal (inspired by the real-life experiences of Roger Auque), the film comes across as frighteningly authentic. The captors are never just faceless villains, but rounded, often sympathetic characters evoking the variety of causes at work in the war. Bagdadi never takes sides or offers easy answers, and Girardot's powerhouse performance renders Perrault's fear remarkably palpable.
Cast and crew
Rafic Ali Ahmad