Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • 1981 • West Germany
Starring Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla, Jerzy Skolimowski
Grateful for a respite from his imploding marriage, Hamburg newspaperman Georg (Bruno Ganz) arrives in Beirut to chronicle the bloody Lebanese Civil War. Inside a shell-pitted hotel, Georg and his photographer colleague Hoffman (cult director Jerzy Skolimowski) join a cynical international coterie of competitive fellow journalists. When Georg’s affair with a beautiful German expat (Hanna Schygulla) evolves into something more than an indulgence, Beirut’s whirlpool of brutality threatens to demolish Georg’s neutrality and self-control. Without taking sides or pulling punches, Volker Schlöndorff’s meticulous direction renders both the lethal chaos of urban warfare and the moral tug-of-war of modern Middle Eastern politics with sensitive precision.