When Beirut Was Beirut

When Beirut Was Beirut

If these buildings could talk, what would they say? In this animated documentary, three of Beirut’s monumental buildings come to life and share their stories of Beirut’s unsettling history.

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Created by Alessandra El Chanti
Lead Actors Laeticia SemaanMohamad ChantyIssam Younes
Key Crew Samantha NaderFredy MahfouzMarc MakhloufJoey SemaanPaul Rafih

Genre:

Documentary and Reality

This poetic hybrid documentary introduces us to three majestic abandoned buildings that witnessed Beirut's tumultuous history, and
come to life through a casual conversation amongst themselves. Using animation and archival audiovisuals, this film takes us back to the Golden Era of Beirut, when the Piccadilly Theater was filled with glamorous entertainment, the Egg was bustling with people in its local markets, and Beit Beirut housed an iconic hair salon and families living under its art-deco roof. When the Lebanese Civil War erupted in 1975, the lives of these buildings had changed completely, turning into bases for snipers on the demarcation line that split the city into East and West, based on religious sects. Years later, the August 4th 2020 explosion in Beirut awakens the three buildings from their slumber as they witness another chapter of the city's history, and reminds them of their troubling past.