Falafel (Lebanon/France; 83 min.)

directed by: Michel Kammoun
starring: Elie Mitri, Issam Bou Khaled, Michel El Hourany

Bruce says: "Beirut was once known as the Paris of the Middle East. Now, partly in ruins, Beirut is missing the tourists but the joie de vive still survives. FALAFEL explores the city through the wanderings of three friends during the course of one night, a dusk to dawn experience that captures the ambience, geography and ethnic mixture of Beirut. The central character in the story is Toufic (Elie Mitri), a university student who spends as little time at home as possible preferring his slacker friends to family. The one exception is his younger brother who is only about eight. Tou adores him.

"Stopping briefly at home for a quick change of clothes and some cash, Tou fusses over his mother and promises his brother a trip to the movies the following day. He is on the phone trying to find out whether Yasmin (Gabrielle Bou Rached), a girl he fancies, will be at the party at a friend’s apartment. At the party he does finally hookup with Yasmin but shortly after they connect there is an incident in the building parking lot involving one of Tou’s friends. A BMW driver is accusing Rehda of scratching his car. When Tou comes to Rehda’s defense a fist fight erupts and Tou gets bloodied by superficial scratches. But it is Tou’s ego that is fractured. He and his friends Nino (Michel El Hourany) and Abboudi (Issam Bou Khaled) decide to hunt down the BMW bully. The night’s adventures include encounters with merchants, the police, casino gamblers, pole dancers and a gun dealer. Tou gets separated from his friends and finishes his adventure on his own.

"FALAFEL explores the human instincts which allow young men to fall easily into violence. Using a circular structure within his narrative line, director Kammoum presents a story where young men face constant tension amid the fading beauty of the city in which they live. Their lust for life allows them to surf above the social and political problems at a frantic pace only youth can maintain. FALAFEL is fraught with unfulfilled promises and shattered dreams; the ultimate truth is revealed only at the end. 4 cats

"FALAFEL was screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival"