Miguel’s War

In this portrait that is multi-layered both in terms of form and content, a gay man confronts the ghosts of his past and explores hidden longings, unrequited love and tormenting feelings of guilt. Miguel was born in 1963 to a conservative, Catholic Lebanese father and an authoritarian mother from a wealthy Syrian family. Numerous conflicts over his national, religious and sexual identity compelled him to flee to Spain in his early twenties. In post-Franco Madrid where he lived an openly gay existence, his life resembled one long Almodóvarian orgy, full of excess and sexual taboo-breaking. This was followed first by a collapse and then a new beginning. After fleeing war and repression 37 years ago, Miguel returns to Lebanon. In a mixture of re-enactments, animation, soul-searching interviews and archive material, the filmmaker and the filmed join forces to dissect old traumas and emotional injuries and explore possibilities of catharsis via a brand of self-scrutiny that holds nothing back.
by Eliane Raheb
with Miguel Jleilaty, Ruben Cardoso, Maria Zabala Peña, Hashem Adnan, Majdi Machmouchi, Maya Yammine, François Nour
Lebanon / Germany / Spain 2021 Arabic, Spanish, English, French 128’ Colour Documentary form

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Miguel Jleilaty (Miguel)
  • Ruben Cardoso (Ruben )
  • Maria Zabala Peña (Maria)
  • Hashem Adnan (Fighter 1)
  • Majdi Machmouchi (Fighter 2)
  • Maya Yammine (Mother)
  • François Nour (Young Michel)


Written and Directed by Eliane Raheb
Cinematography Bassem Fayad
Animation Fadi El Samra
Editing Eliane Raheb
Music Mazen Kerbaje
Sound Design Victor Bresse
Sound Shadi Roukoz
Production Design Nader Moussali
Costumes Anthony Chidiac
Assistant Director Nadim Hobeika
Casting Reine Farah
Line Producers Nermine Haddad, Marta Del Vigo
Producer Eliane Raheb
Executive Producer Elaine Raheb
Co-Producers Margot Haiböck, Lissi Muschol, Felipe Lage Coro
Co-Production Kabinett-film Berlin
Zeitun films A Corūna

Eliane Raheb

Her first feature-length documentary, Sleepless Nights, premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival and went on to screen at over 60 festivals around the world. Her second feature-length film, Those Who Remain, was also shown at numerous festivals and received several awards. She has twice been a DAAD artist-in-residence and is a founding member of the association Beirut DC which champions Arab cinema.


2002 Karib baiid (So Near yet so Far); medium-length documentary 2003 Intihar (Suicide); short documentary 2008 Hayda Lubnan (This is Lebanon); medium-length documentary 2013 Layali Bala Noom (Sleepless Nights); documentary 2016 Mayyel ya ghzayyel (Those Who Remain); documentary 2021 Miguel’s War; documentary

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021