Lebanon... Why? is a pertinent and necessary question, given British TV's repeated simplification of the conflict into 'leftist Moslems versus rightist Christians'. The 'why' of Chamchoum's film, however, is unfortunately little more than an index of incomprehension, not a stimulus to analysis: this irritating documentary ends with the question rather than proceeding from it. Under the production circumstances, no one could reasonably expect a structured, fully coherent, text-book presentation, but that hardly excuses the editing strategy of fragmenting every interview, cutting fast between talking heads, the repeated use of redundant footage of gesturing fighters and scarred landscapes overlaid with a melodramatic score, or the tricksy effects of emotive freeze-frames. Indeed, most information has to be gleaned from the (added) English intertitles.
FN Georges Chamchoum
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