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Beyrouth Hôtel | Daniele Arbid, 2011
Lebanon/France/Sweden | 99 minutes
Embroiled in a messy divorce, night club singer Zoha (Darine Hamzé) meets Mathieu (Charles Berling), a French lawyer in Beirut on business; the two enter into a passionate affair that becomes a refuge from both their personal turmoil as well as the impending chaos outside the hotel’s walls. Daniele Arbid creates a portrait of Beirut as a tinderbox, full of explosive tensions and ready to ignite at any moment. One of France’s most sought-after actors, Berling offers a beautifully calibrated performance as Mathieu: perhaps this Frenchman really is the spy some Lebanese claim he is. Darine Hamzé as Zoha reveals a vulnerability and innocence that contradict the sultry, world-wise performer. A taut romantic thriller, Beirut Hotel was initially banned from Lebanese theaters for mentioning the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.