‘The Insult’ trailer
The new film ‘The Insult’ begins with a testy exchange in a Beirut neighborhood. Toni is a Lebanese Christian who runs an auto repair shop and resents the presence of Palestinian refugees in his country. Yasser is one of those refugees who happens to have a job as a construction foreman in Toni’s neighborhood.
The trouble starts when Yasser gets splashed with water because of an illegal jury-rigged drainpipe on Toni’s balcony. When he decides to fix the pipe without asking permission, Toni smashes the repair job. Thus begins an argument that spirals into a national cause in a country that is deeply divided along religious lines.
Despite controversy surrounding the director of ‘The Insult,’ Lebanon submitted the film to compete for an Academy Award this year. It’s shortlisted for best foreign language film--a first for a Lebanese movie.
Joining us on the show this week is ‘The Insult’ director, Ziad Doueiri, a secular Muslim who grew up in Beirut. He became a U.S. Citizen after moving to San Diego to go to film school. He’s since gone back to the Middle East, where he made the 2012 film ‘The Attack.’ Doueiri shot in Israel and included Israeli cast and crew members in that film.
Simply by going to Israel, Doueiri broke Lebanese law and ‘The Attack’ was banned in Lebanon. Since then, he’s been in the cross hairs of the BDS movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel and seeks to blacklist anyone who does business there, including artists and filmmakers.
Though ‘The Insult’ was filmed in Lebanon, and has nothing to do with Israel, Doueiri is still a target of the boycott movement.
He tells us about the troubles he’s faced as a filmmaker in the Middle East, and why he’s determined to continue to make political movies in and about the Arab world.