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!”