Petites Guerres…

Petites Guerres (1982)
Movie Review (New Yok Times)

The Lebanon we see in Maroun Baghdadi’s ”Little Wars” is not the place we saw in another recent film about Lebanon, Volker Schlondorff’s ”Circle of Deceit,” nor even the place we see on the news. Unlike the German Mr. Schlondorff, who brought back a visitor’s sensationalized vision of the battlefront, the Lebanese Mr. Baghdadi has made a much quieter film.

The peculiar rhythm of ”Little Wars” is slow to reveal itself. But it gradually becomes apparent that this is an unusual work, somewhat hazy but highly imaginative, in which the elements of plot and action are only minor parts of a larger scheme. Mr. Baghdadi sets up three chief characters who don’t really connect, and he paints a wartime backdrop that breeds anxiety and uncertainty but not (as in Mr. Schlondorff’s worthy but very different film) urgency and terror. For people living in a war zone, Mr. Baghdadi’s characters lead remarkably fearless lives.

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