How many times was there a war between Israel and Lebanon? Let me tell you, many, many times. Some were longer, some were shorter. The war in 2006 lasted 33 days and cost, as always, the lives of many civilians. The Lebanese/French movie Under the Bombs has a close look at what a war like this does to civilians.
Under the Bombs tells the story of a young mother who was in Dubai while her son stayed in the South of Lebanon when the war broke out. At the beginning of the movie she arrives in Lebanon and tries to find a taxi that will drive her to the South. None of the taxi drivers is willing to take her there. It is much to risky. The Hezbollah is still bombing Israel and Israel fights back. Or the other way around. At this point in time it isn’t exactly clear who is doing the fighting. The movie doesn’t really tell us why this war broke out or who is the culprit, it really is only interested in the innocent victims.
One taxi driver who fancies the good-looking woman finally decides to take her South. His own family lives there and he thinks he may have a look and find out about them.
The moment they leave Beirut the devastation can be seen. The movie was filmed right after the war and feels like a documentary. Those houses have so obviously been bombed, the cities and villages look desolate.
The trip South is a nightmare. Many bridges have been damaged and they have a hard time to find the way. Whenever they arrive at a destination they encounter people in distress but neither her son nor her sister can be found. The people tell them what they have been through and mostly have news of her son and indicate where he could be found.
During their trip, the taxi driver and the mother start to talk. They are an unlikely couple, and would never have met under normal circumstances. He is a simple man who dreams of leaving Lebanon and living in Germany while she is the wife of a famous architect and has seen the whole world.
After a day or two they both start to reveal their fears and talk about the things that went wrong in their lives.
When they arrive in the South where the family used to live the only thing they find is a heap of rubble and confusing stories. It seems that her sister has died under the bombs but her son has been taken away by French journalists. Once more they chase after him.
This is a tragic, sad and very touching movie. The friendship between the mother and the taxi driver is quite moving. Both actors, Nada Abou Farhat and Georges Khabbaz are excellent. There are no easy answers in the movie, no taking sides, just the illustration of what misery the bombing of villages and cities brings to the inhabitants.
I can really recommend this.
I also included it in on my Children in War Movies List.