Beirut Hotel [2011]

This ain’t the old days anymore when Lebanese films used to be sex free. This is a Lebanese movie for the 21st Century that sadly emerges as a dull piece of cheese.  If one were scoring good intentions, “Beirut Hotel” would get an A for effort, simply for trying  to be different. But the screenplay resembles an earnest junior high school play that isn’t worthy of the subject or the people behind this endeavor. Audiences were sharply divided when “Beirut Hotel” screened on ARTE in January. Some folks I spoke to were downright angry. When I finally caught up with the film, I felt the same way. Why? If there’s a Lebanese movie cliché that director Daniel Arbid misses, I don’t know it. What I can’t figure is why anyone would want to release this film in theaters just when almost everyone could barely sit through it when it played on Television. It didn’t help that I knew how the story would eventually end. If you don’t know where it’s leading, you might derive some suspense from the narrative, even though it is told in a predictable fashion. For me, knowing the ending—which I won’t give away, just in case—made me all the more impatient to get there and get it over with. Trying to remove my personal feelings from the equation is difficult. I’m able to appreciate the quality of Darine Hamze’s performance as a woman who feels suffocated by circumstance. She meets and falls in love with an older french lawyer who, according to her uncle, might also be an Israeli spy. Or something like that. In terms of plot, I’ll say no more. Some have heaped praise on “Beirut Hotel”, calling it the next big thing, and they’re entitled to their opinions. I can only be honest in describing my reaction: watching this movie was so not cool.

Rating: 2/4

10 replies »

  1. Oh..this is how i described it : ” Basically it was a re-imagining of a Hollywood D movie…you know those thrillers that try hard to “thrill” ? so this “Zoha” (or Zahya?) is a singer in a night club..a french man is watchin her..AMAZINGLY a romance kindled within the first 5 min…then lot’s of cheesiness..some lame chasing scenes..some non erotic sex scenes..(in one of them he “finger(s)” her..was this necessary in a political “thriller”?)..then Harriri’s name is mentioned by one of the characters..BOO YEAH..(he apparently knows some people involved in the assassination) then the supposed horror begins and lead to nothing but..cheesiness!..even the scenes where she performs are deja vu (the angles the lighting..the everything)…just hate how pretentious this movie was..EPIC FAIL imao..the ban helped it a LOT. (PS: some of the French dialogue has been literally written in Arabic then translated through Google translate..am sure! haha)”

    • Plus her french is mediocre at best. And the frenchman seemed kinda lost. No clue what he’s doing here. Laughable dialogue. I could go on :p It was pretty disappointing.

  2. honestly… Danielle Arbid is a horrible film maker.. her first flick was watchable ( was it?)..but her second was a torturous piece of [pornographic] crap (that “a lost man” thing).

  3. Damn right I couldn’t sit through it all. The sex scenes were seriously too much and too out of place. I got bored quickly to a point that I really didn’t want to know how the movie will end.

  4. I was playing games on my iphone while I watched this movie, it was torture, everything about it was crap, directing, the acting, the characters, the dialogue except maybe (“je suis libanaise, si tu me mens je the tues!). Was very disappointed by this movie and didn’t enjoy the ambiguous ending especially with the lack of character development. The sex scenes were meant to be erotic and shocking but instead were sleazy and forced…Was so hoping to watch a good Lebanese movie, this one just doesn’t deliver 😦

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