Ziad Douerir's The Insult is relatively accessible, artistically accomplished, and philosophically profound, a film which is bristling with humanism as it deconstructs the coercive nature which ideology and collectivism can have on general human empathy and kindness. A story of a small dispute between a Palestine refugee and Christian Lebanese man in living in Beirut, Douerir's The Insult is a film of escalation, chronicling how a civil dispute quickly becomes the political ire of a nation, stroking the tensions in Beirut between religious theologies and political ideologies, each which view the outcome of this trial as paramount for the progress of their cause. A scathing commentary on the parasitical nature which larger society can place on the individual, The Insult showcases how these two men find their small dispute amplified and exploited by the various power structures and authorities of society, with the media, various political organizations, and day-to-day citizens effectively using this relatively simple civil dispute as a surrogate to exacerbate the conflicts and tensions which exist in modern day Beirut. These forces only corrupt the situation more, elevate danger and the potential of violence, with The Insult capturing the deterioration of morality and general empathy as the ideological positions begin to grab hold and use a dispute between two men to elevate their respective causes. The Insult asserts that political ideologies can be coercive to human empathy, detailing how violence justified through ideology is almost always perpetual in nature, using this story of a dispute between two men from different backgrounds as a plea for more humanism, empathy and understanding between political factions, theologies, and other tribalism which humanity is so susceptible to adopt. The ending perfectly illustrates this film's largest thematic plea, as The Insult's conclusion slights the larger factions of society that wish to exploit these men's dispute to gain more power or authority. These large factions get nothing, yet these two individual men gain so much, each coming to a point of understanding and general empathy for the other, each understanding that their own personal plight filled with horror and past trauma is not singular or unique but shared, each of which being victims of brutal tribalism that left them emotionally scared and impacted personally.
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