The Insult

There’s never any point in nursing a grudge, unless you’re telling a story—then it’s a great idea. Ziad Doueiri’s Lebanese drama The Insult, nominated for an Oscar in the foreign-language category, tracks the escalating conflict between two stubborn men in Beirut. Tony Hanna (Adel Karam), an auto mechanic hopped up on the nativist politics of a right-wing Christian party, is hosing down his apartment balcony overlooking the street when Yasser Salameh (Kamel El Basha), a Palestinian refugee supervising a nearby construction project, comes to Tony’s door to complain about a leaky gutter that’s dropping water on passersby. Tony slams the door in his face, and when Yasser orders his workmen to repair the balcony gutter, Tony uses a hammer to smash the connecting pipe they’ve just installed, provoking an obscenity from Yasser below. Various attempts by Yasser’s boss to smooth over the situation culminate in Tony telling Yasser, “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out,” and Yasser punching him in the ribs. Continue reading>>