‘The Insult’ Tackles Simmering Socio-Ethnic Rage Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian

Drama Moves Beyond Insult that Serves as Kindling for Simmering Socio-Ethnic Rage.

As the title implies, this powerful and sweeping Lebanese film is based on a particular insult that occurs at the film’s outset, but the molehill expands to mountainous and even riotous proportions. On a larger scale, a minor scuffle and blow to stubborn pride between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian balloons into a study of the Middle Eastern culture of insult and barely contained anger. A favorite in the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) program and one of five contenders for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, The Insult is the handiwork of writer/director Ziad Doueiri (who did camerawork on early Tarantino films before returning home to make films about his native Lebanon). At an SBIFF Q&A session, he explained that he wrote the screenplay with his wife, Joelle Touma, from an opposite cultural heritage: They often wrote pages from the “other” perspective as an exercise in understanding across borders and beliefs. The result is a beautifully crafted, engaging, shrewdly balanced tale disguised as a “courtroom drama,” a setting that allows for a broad flow and dialogue of ideas (such as “Nobody has a monopoly on suffering”) that moves far beyond the trivial insult that serves as kindling for simmering socio-ethnic rage.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Hundreds Protest Trump’s Family Separation Policy

Another demonstration is planned for June 30 in De La Guerra Plaza.

Goleta Mayor and Council Salaries to Go to the Ballot

Voters asked to consider higher salaries to bring greater diversity to city government.

New Libertarian Group Seeks Major Redistricting Shakeup

Reason in Government is seeking to create an independent committee.

S.B. Attorney Gets Convicted Killer Off Death Row

Robert Lewis Jr. was deemed too intellectually disabled.

Public Trashes Hollister Ranch Deal

The California Coastal Conservancy received over 600 angry letters.