Heritages [2014] ★★★

1184948_451068998358440_1754512155_nFor writer/director Philippe Aractingi, devising a film that follows his decision to leave his home country for yet another time during the 2006 war couldn’t have been easy. And if “Heritages” is less than perfect, it’s still pretty powerful. The fact that it’s a personal journey featuring his entire family makes it all the more impressive. When it opens, Aractingi explains why he wanted to make this movie. We learn more about his ancestors and how they were forced to flee wars in Lebanon for many generations. It’s not really that simple, of course. But there have been real tragedies here, from the fall of the Ottoman empire to the Lebanese civil war. Aractingi refuses to take sides. He simply wants to show us that there are no absolute good guys or bad guys on either side of this ongoing struggle. In a poignant scene, he recalls one of his childhood friends, Sami, who died during the war. The scene’s emotional honesty is relatable and universal. But that’s just one of the things that make “Heritages” so good. When a film covers subject material that is highly emotional for the filmmaker himself there is always the chance that he will overplay his hand and become overly sentimental. Luckily, the movie dodges all of that. What’s more, Aractingi works so well with his family that everything seems genuine and naturalistic, even the scenes involving his young children, which are quite remarkable. By making his points in the context of a vivid, authentic story he has created an exceptional film that’s hard to forget.

Rating: 3/4

1 reply »

  1. I was actually disappointed. The film featured wonderful footage, beautiful photographs and a decent premise. And it actually started off well. But then, the cocky writing ruined it. Most of the lines were clearly scripted or felt scripted, which isn’t a good thing in a [mostly] documentary feature. It killed the realism of the entire story. Most of the conversations were formulaic and conclusive like romantic comedies, not to mention the extremely forced sentimentality. At the end, It wasn’t boring at all, but rather an empty and non-evocative experience. But some of the sequences were beautifully shot so I respect Aractingi’s ambitions.

    بعدين يا حكي بالفصحة يا بالعاميّة !

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