Skip to main content

BEIRUT - THE LAST HOME MOVIES

USA, 1987 (MIFF 1988, Documentary)

Director: Jennifer Fox

Gaby Bustros, a member of one of the original seven great families of Lebanon, left her home in Beirut at the age of 19 to work, study and travel. For years she watched the events in her country unfold from afar. But on 9 April 1981, in a front page article in the Washington Post, Gaby learned that her family's home in Beirut had been severely damaged by bombing The next day she was on her way home

Beirut The Last Home Movie chronicles three months in the life of the Bustros family. During this time months, Jennifer Fox and a small film crew lived in the Bustros home. The footage they shot includes an extensive record of the Bustros family - the three sisters Gaby, 35, Nyla, 36 and Mouna, 39, their brother Fady, 26 and their mother Mimi, 58.

Old family movies, stills, and news footage of Beirut at war are intercut with the Bustros' opulence, their chandeliers vibrating from distant artillery.

The Bustros family live in the heart of Beirut's most heavily bombed and all but deserted neighbourhood, Christian Ashrafiya, one of the most dangerous areas in the city Why do they stay?

”Is it guts? Is it madness? asks Jonathon Randall, Washington Post correspondent and family friend. “Sometimes I think the Bustros ladies are out of their heads. I mean what are they doing here?

Says Jennifer Fox, “I was completely fascinated by the stories Gaby told me about growing up in Lebanon, her family, their palaces, and the fact that her family stayed there despite the war. Strange as it may sound, I felt I understood why her family wanted to stay in the war And it was this feeling of understanding that really bothered me, I thought I would do the same thing!”

See also...

BROKEN NOSES

Says Bruce Weber, “In the summer of 1983 at the Colorado Sports Festival, I was photographing all the young athletes who had a chance to go to the Olympics. ... One day a light weight boxer, Andy ... More »

INHERITANCE

There have been many examinations made of the 'American malady', but few as incisive and frightening as Bill Donovan's Inheritance Donovan started this project in 1978, initially planning to make a ... More »

RIGHTS AND REACTIONS

This explosive one hour documentary gives air to various positions on a topical, contentious issue the legal and civil rights of lesbians and homosexual men. Against the mounting concern and ... More »

The Revenge of the Sons of the Desert

A loving tribute to Laurel & Hardy by a 'set of odd, charming, curious, misplaced cherubs' who get together every two years from all over the world to celebrate these two great cinema comedians. ... More »

LEGACY OF THE HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST

Last October marked the 40th anniversary of the beginning of what some observers have called The American Inquisition - the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of Communist ... More »

SIGNED: LINO BROCKA

Following last year's screening of Christian Blackwood's look at obsessive film random and star imagery My Life for Zarah Leander, we now present his latest documentary account of similarly ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director