Sous Le Ciel D'Alice
90 minutes, Color
Beirut was once considered the Paris of the Middle East, and it is to this sophisticated but welcoming urban oasis that a young rural Swiss woman, Alice (Alba Rohrwacher), escapes in the 1950s. Alice falls in love with an eccentric astronomer, Joseph (Wajdi Mouawad), and marries him (and his extended family). Life is blissful disorder until interrupted, in the 1970s, by the small matter of Lebanon's civil war; then it is just disorder. The fighting scatters the once close family to the winds, much as it breaks apart the dreams of the country Alice has come to love. French-Lebanese writer-director Chloé Mazlo has a background in animation, and she employs it here intermittently, along with other disruptions, to surprising and delightful affect. In mood, her film harks back to the French New Wave as its female protagonist navigates a world that is whimsical but not always funny.—Judy Bloch
In French, Arabic, Italian with English subtitles
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