Maroun Bagdadi (1950-1993) ushered in the new wave of Lebanese cinema. His films were the voice of a whole generation torn by civil war and struggling with its identity. They depict the violence and the tragic absurdity of this war while hinting at the hope of reconciliation. Before the war broke out in 1974, he filmed Beirut, Ya Beirut for the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies (Paris) with limited means. During his stay in the United States, he several legendary filmmakers, notably Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese with whom he later collaborated.
His first film, Petites Guerres (Little Wars) was presented at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section and introduced him to international audiences. Later in Lebanon, The Land of Honey and Incense he transposed the reality of the war in Lebanon. In 1991, his film Hors la Vie (Out of Life) won the Jury Prize in Cannes, tying with Lars von Trier’s Europa.
Before his untimely demise, Bagdadi was working on his latest script Zawaya. This movie would have reconciled him with his homeland where peace had finally returned.
His filmography includes eight feature-length movies, thirteen documentaries, a dozen short films, and several video recordings.