Under The Bombs

Under The Bombs

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Jeff Robson's film review of Under The Bombs

Under the Bombs was made under such extraordinary circumstances that, merely by laying bare those circumstances, the extras on this disc inevitably become as compelling as the film itself.

You get the picture within the very first minute of director/co-writer Philippe Aractingi's 26-minute interview: he came up with the idea for the docu-fiction on July 12, 2006, ie the first day of the 2006 Lebanon War, and began filming eight days later, ie right in the middle of the war. Most of the shoot then took place over ten days in August, in the immediate aftermath of the war.

Copy picture

His two actors improvised their scenes in real settings, surrounded by real war victims and war damage, with Aractingi capturing everything on a small HDV camera. In other words, this is one of those films where the background is arguably more important than the extemporised drama that emerges from it. It may be a road movie, but it is also a vivid eyewitness account of a ravaged nation. As Aractingi puts it: "This war was much bigger than any vision I could have."

In a very well-cut seven-minute audience Q&A, Aractingi touches upon (if no more) the ethical questions raised by exploiting real people's misery for a fiction – apparently the crew argued about the rights and wrongs of this every day. It is, however, the 12-minute interview with Nada Abou-Farhat that best shows the moral sincerity of the film. "We were making this movie only because we cared about humanity," she says. It might sound glib, until she reveals that when she and the others started, they did not know there would be a ceasefire. "I was", she says, "willing to work under the bombs." There is little arguing with that level of commitment from filmmakers – and it is unquestionably a very powerful filmic document of civilian experience under fire.

Reviewed on: 28 Jul 2008
Share this with others on...
Under The Bombs packshot
As the Israeli army bombs Lebanon in 2006, a mother makes a desperate journey to try to save her son.
Amazon link

Product Code: ART378DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1

Extras: Philippe Aractingi interview, Philippe Aractingi Q&A, Nada Abou-Farhat interview, theatrical trailers, stills gallery, Artificial Eye trailer reel

Search database: