Film – The Insult
Director: Ziad Doueiri
Starring: Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Camille Salameh
Genre: Drama of every variety
It’s disappointing that the film that won the audience award at this year’s Sydney Film Festival was also my top film for the festival. Disappointing because I like to think that I have an unusual taste in films, often revelling in what others consider tripe and walking out on films that others gush about (it happens at the Film Festival more often than anywhere else).
Alas, there’s no denying that The Insult is a superb film. Lebanese personal, religious and political relationships all collide to tell what, on face value, is a simple story of an insult with repercussions that spiral massively out of control.
It may come as no surprise to find out that Lebanese politics and religion are intertwined and complex. The occasional explosions of violence that make the evening news barely scratch the surface. It’s a complexity rooted in history going back centuries, and the genius of The Insult is that it somehow manages to capture it and illuminate it in a way no documentary could ever hope to achieve.
That The Insult captures all this Lebanese complexity in what is essentially a two-hour courtroom drama is a triumph that means it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as classic courtroom dramas such as To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), 12 Angry Men (1957), Breaker Morant (1980) or A Few Good Men (1992). Indeed The Insult has deservedly received multiple accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film and pretty much everything at the 2018 Lebanese Movie Awards (it might have been a weak field – who knows?!).
I’ve often said that bad films are easier to review. I was wrong.
Rating: Five anythings (of course).