Shot mostly in Southern Lebanon in summer 2006, days after the ceasefire between the Israeli military and Hezbollah, Under the Bombs is by far the strongest war movie I’ve seen. Its strength as a war movie lies in the fact that what remains of a war as we the audience see on the screen is actually what remains of the rocket storm.
Let’s review what happened that Summer, Israeli claimed that Hezbollah launched two rockets and hit some building in Israel, leaving a number of casualties. That was unacceptable, and the Israeli military retaliated and send rocket showers, destroying infrastructures in the Southern Lebanon and some parts of Beirut. The shower lasted for 33 days, and following international pressure the Israeli authority agreed a ceasefire on the 34th day.
That’s the background of this movie. And in the following weeks, with dust all over the place and cluster bombs still found exploding every now and then throughout the southern Lebanon, the director Philippe Aractingi started shooting a movie. With all the recovery activity at the background, the movie involved only four (by four I mean 1 + 1 + 1 +1) actors. The rests are real life Lebanese, journalists or International military personnel who in one way or another were prompted to play certain roles in the movie. And the post-war recovery activities in the background are all… POST-WAR RECOVERY ACTIVITIES. Thus, the movie is a blend of fiction movie and documentary.
The story of the movie centers around the trip that Zeina takes from Beirut to the Southern Lebanon in search of her son and sister. The search is conducted on a taxi rent at a cost of 300 dollars a day (plus 50 dollars for the extra miles) driven by a dubious character named Tony. With two characters who have just met put in one car and errands to run, we have now a road movie. Zeina has been living in Dubai for sometime with her husband who is a successful businessman. As the marriage ages, they start to fight, and to save the future of their son they send their son to live with his grandmother and aunt in Southern Lebanon. A couple of weeks into the rocket shower, Zeina has stopped hearing updates from her sister, and has started to panic. Meanwhile, her husband has been busy taking care of some business deal in Hong Kong. A son under the bomb shower in Lebanon, a restless mother left alone in Dubai and a cheating husband is too busy taking care of the business. It’s crystal clear now where their story goes. Divorce is the final decision. A trip home to Lebanon is necessary pronto. A search of the lost son is inevitable due to the post-war confusion. Tony, a native and resident in the war-torn Lebanon, is in need of money to send himself out of the country for a brighter future.
So that’s it. Now y’all know what’s in and behind the movie. It’s time now for you to see for yourself and experience a movie with patches of war footage and endless post-war activities AND actors at the foreground. It’s blending of emotions, a smoothie of passion, tears, laughter, dust and cluster bombs.