Beirut al lika

Beirut the Encounter
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 café. 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.
by Borhane Alaouié
with Haitham El Amine, Nadine Acoury, Renée Deek, Refaat Haidar, Hussam Sabbah, Najwa Haidar, Rafic Najem
Lebanon / Tunisia / Belgium 1981 Arabic 101’ Colour A restoration by Cinematek, Royal Film Archive of Belgium


  • Haitham El Amine
  • Nadine Acoury
  • Renée Deek
  • Refaat Haidar
  • Hussam Sabbah
  • Najwa Haidar
  • Rafic Najem


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
Producer Bruno Mestdagh
Executive Producer Hassen Daldoul
Restoration Arianna Turci

World sales

Nadi Lekol Nas

Produced by

Établissement arabe de production cinématographique


Cine Libre

Additional information

A restoration by Cinematek, Royal Film Archive of Belgium

Borhane Alaouié

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.


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); 101 min. 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.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022