Summer Hat Trick
If only for Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's The Blair Witch Project and M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, the summer of '99 has ended up a noteworthy time for excitingly offbeat and inventive work from young filmmakers. Now comes Ziad Doueiri's West Beirut, which is just as refreshing and quirkily original as the films just named but risks being typed as some kind of ponderous foreign film about the bloody Middle East. Don't make that mistake. Doueri's movie is an exhilaratingly accomplished piece of cinema, first of all; along with Blair Witch, it deserves recognition as the most impressive debut film of the year to date.