Jump directly to the page contents

Beirut al lika

Beirut The Encounter
Still from the film "Beirut al lika (Beirut the Encounter)" by Borhane Alaouié. An empty street that shows damage from conflict.
© Nadi Lekol Nas
  • Director

    Borhane Alaouié

  • Lebanon, Tunisia, Belgium / 1981
    101 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


Beirut, 1977. Zeina (Nadine Acoury) is about to leave the country, just like many Lebanese are doing again today. Haydar (Haitham El Amine) hasn’t been in the city for very long; he had to leave his village because of the civil war. The two haven’t seen each other in years, although a sense of longing has endured. The nature of their relationship – whether friendship, romance, or something in between – is deliberately left vague by the film’s director, Borhane Alaouié, who died in September. The camera follows the two of them for around 24 hours, past checkpoints and ruins, stuck in traffic, waiting in vain in a cafe. Suspense arises from the question of whether they will manage to see each other one last time; the film’s allure is derived from the tender, melancholy atmosphere inherent to the images of the damaged city and the characters’ soft voices.
We’re screening the 2K version of the film restored by the Royal Belgian Film Archive as a world premiere: a reunion after 40 years, as BEIRUT AL LIKA screened in Competition at the 1982 Berlinale. (Cristina Nord)

Borhane Alaouié was born in 1941 in Arnoun, Lebanon. He studied film directing. Following his 1974 debut Kfar Kassem, he directed numerous feature films and documentaries that screened at major festivals, including Beirut al lika (Berlinale 1982). In addition to making films, he also taught film directing in Lebanon for many years. Borhane Alaouié died in September 2021.

Production Bruno Mestdagh. Production companies Établissement arabe de production cinématographique (Beirut, Lebanon), SATPEC (Tunis, Tunisia), Cine Libre (Brüssel, Belgium). Director Borhane Alaouié. Written by Ahmad Beydoun. Cinematography Charles Van Damme, Alexis Grivas. Editing Eliane Dubois. Sound Henri Morelle. Production design Jean Louis Mainguy. Make-up Amira Al Akel. Assistant directors Bahji Hojeij, Hicham Al Jurdi. Production manager Saleh Al Ajem. Executive producer Hassen Daldoul. Restoration Arianna Turci. A restoration by Cinematek, Royal Film Archive of Belgium. With Haitham El Amine, Nadine Acoury, Renée Deek, Refaat Haidar, Hussam Sabbah, Najwa Haidar, Rafic Najem.

World sales Nadi Lekol Nas

Films: 1974: Kfar Kassem / The Massacre of Kfar Kassem (90 min.). 1978: Il ne suffit pas que Dieu soit avec les pauvres (70 min.). 1981: Beirut al lika / Beirut the Encounter. 1984: Risala men zaman el hareb / Letter from a Time of War (52 min.). 1989: Risala men zaman el manfa / Letter from a Time of Exile (52 min.). 2002: Ilayka aynama takoun / To You Wherever You Are (52 min.). 2006: Khallass (100 min.).

Bonus Material


  • Still from the film "Beirut al lika (Beirut the Encounter)" by Borhane Alaouié. A man with a moustache in medium close-up speaks on a phone in front of a damaged exterior wall.


    In "Our Picture Burned and Our Photographers Fled” Borhane Alaouié discusses the emergence of a distinctly Lebanese cinema.

  • Still from the film "Beirut al lika (Beirut the Encounter)" by Borhane Alaouié. A wide shot, where a veiled woman sits alone on a mattress in a sparse apartment.


    In “The Romantic Visionaries” novelist Hoda Barakat remembers her friend Borhane Alaouié and the filming of BEIRUT AL LIKA.

Forum Special 2022

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur