The Twenty Third Cease-Fire

52 min
Production : ISKRA
Langue : Français
Image : Couleur
Son : Mono
Format : 16 mm
Négatif : CTM
Versions disponibles : VFR

Tragic-comedy, Lebanon no doubt will soon celebrate her fiftieth cease fire. After ten months of combat terminated by the massacre of the slum town “La Quarantaine” by right wing Christian phalangists, the left wing replies by taking the Christian town of Damour, territory of the Minister of the Interior Camille Chamoun. It is the 21st of January 1976. I mm ediatlÿ after folio <rs the 23rd cease fire. At the same time the army begins to split itself in two. The Lebanese Arabic Army is formed by Lieutenant Kha t ib who is later on to lead a left wing offensive. The soldiers from Damascus are not yet fighting side by side with the Christian forces but this can already be foreseen in the final scenes of the film. Beirut is .settled into the war. Weak and hesitant colours on dirty sand, a few children at play on the beach. A glass marble hits three cartridges held by another child. The camera patrols. A cat runs off with a chicken bone, five others are among a pile of rubbish. A petrol, station torn apart, burnt out cars, rubble-perforated walls, facades blackened by fire. Ten months of fighting. A pha- langist explains the “Quarantaine”. “They were outlaws, they did things to women and occupied territory belonging to the monks.” Father Houanès, from the Maronite Order, half-Raspoutine, half-Sol- jenitsyne, attacks the Palestinians. How can people who are so incapable as to be unable to defend theyr own land be expected to respect that of others? Christians are like rare animals which are in dagner of becoming extinct, they must be protected. The West has been brought to knees in front.of Arab petrol and has forgotten the values of civilization. Raymond Eddé, unlucky candidate of the presidential elections, moderate Christian, archenemy of the right wing phalangists, and later on against the Syrian intervention, underlines the absurd and unrealistic characteristics of the separation of Lebanon. The streets of Damour, the territory of Camille Chamoun, carry the traces of the forcefull replies of the is 1amo-progres sists. Five hundred deads. A symbol: his ostantacious villa has been pillaged, he has nothing left. He, the man who was responsible for landing the “marines” in 58, the agent of all kinds of trafficing, the capitalist who has provoked the strike of fishermen in Saida, the chief of the “Noumours” (the Tigers of the N.L.P.’) only appears on the screen in an old well known photograph, hiding the dark glasses of the conman. On the other hand, Kamal Jumblat, totally accessible and open to the point of vulnerability, deep set eye- sockets, bushy eyebrows of an old mountaineer, is the other millionaire leader of the progressive party with whom the portrait gallery is closed, forcing the spectator’s choice.