Archive of films Out of Life / Hors la vie

Belgium / France / Italy
1991, 97 min

Section: A Week of Lebanese Cinema
Year: 2015

A suspenseful drama based on the actual experiences of a French photographer kidnapped and held for nearly a year during Lebanon's Civil War. Jury prize (ex aequo) at the 1991 festival in Cannes.


“Time, this old enemy, gnaws at the traces of our passage on earth; exempted from this are the creators. Maroun, you will live” – thus did Gilles Jacob, legendary head of the Cannes festival, enthuse over the rich work of the prematurely deceased Lebanese filmmaker. In his best-known movie, Bagdadi takes up the true story of French journalist Roger Auque, who was kidnapped by Hezbollah and held for ransom for a year. The suspenseful drama depicts his everyday struggle to survive and his dogged efforts to maintain his sanity after being suddenly deprived of freedom as Beirut is turned upside down by civil war. Noteworthy is the picture’s highly original and complex characterization of his jailers, men who represent the captive man’s lone contact with the so-called normal world. One of the guards’ more memorable lines rings depressingly true: “This is Lebanon, man, don’t trust your eyes; things are never the way they look. There’s always a snake behind the rock.”

Karel Och

About the director

Maroun Bagdadi (1950–1993), one of the most highly-renowned directors in the history of Lebanese film, enjoyed a creative period that covered almost precisely the same span as the Civil War, a topic investigated in his work. He studied political science and law in his native Beirut, later moving to France where he graduated from Paris’s IDHEC film school. Bagdadi worked for a time with Francis Ford Coppola and shot movies in French that brought him fame in the land of the Gallic rooster. His films Little Wars (Les petites guerres, 1982) and Out of Life (Hors la vie, 1991) screened at the Cannes festival, with the latter receiving the Jury Prize (ex aequo).


Pathé International
6 Ramillies St., W1F 7TY, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 323 5151
Fax: +44 207 631 3568

About the film


Section: A Week of Lebanese Cinema
Director: Maroun Bagdadi
Screenplay: Maroun Bagdadi, Didier Decoin, Elias Khoury
Dir. of Photography: Patrick Blossier
Music: Nicola Piovani
Editor: Luc Barnier
Art Director: Dan Weil
Producer: Mario Gallo, Enzo Giulioli, Jacques Perrin
Production: Galatée Films
Cast: Hippolyte Girardot, Rafic Ali Ahmad, Hussein Sbeity, Habib Hammoud, Majdi Machmouchi
Sales: Pathé International


Soraya Bagdadi

Leslie Vuchot

Service Company Rep., Distributor


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