The unlikely pairing of Syrian civil society activist and documentary filmmaker Omar Amiralay with Lebanese self-made-billionaire-turned-politician Rafiq Hariri as his subject produces a fascinating portrait of the Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in February of 2005.
Amiralay admits to having reservations about criticizing the powerful leader on film, while Hariri, who is notoriously protective of his public image, is similarly apprehensive about being portrayed on screen by the outspoken director. Amiralay's friends and intellectual colleagues express concern that Amiralay will succumb to Hariri's renowned charm, resulting in a public-relations piece rather than a documentary film worthy of its maker.
Ultimately, Omar Amiralay's Rafiq Hariri: The Man With the Golden Soles is a subtle, nuanced, and reflexive work revealing Hariri both as a super-contractor who was able to tear down Beirut's past and reconstruct it for the future, and as a uniting political force who existed outside Lebanon's warring factions.
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