In July 2006, war broke out between Israel and Lebanon. Unable to adequately process what was happening to his home country, Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi decided to pick up his camera and start shooting ten days in, with no script and only the vague nugget of a story in his head. The end result is Under the Bombs, a fictional tale set against the backdrop of a very real battle. Amazingly, there are only two actors in the film; everyone else (citizens, soldiers, journalists) play themselves. When there's a bomb going off in the distance, it's not some expensive special effects shot. Yes, it's a real bomb. The carnage, the destruction, the sadness, the death -- none of it is staged, none of it is part of some elaborate set. It's all real. And then somewhere in the middle is our fictional story, which follows a mother searching for her sister and her son.
Zelna (Nada Abou Farhat) lives in Dubai, yet when her marriage begins to fall apart, she sends her son to Southern Lebanon to stay with her sister for awhile so that he doesn't have to watch his parents fighting all the time. Not long after that, war breaks out between Lebanon and Israel. Determined to find her sister and son, Zelna heads to Lebanon through Turkey. However, because of the blockade, she finally reaches the port of Beirut on the day of the ceasefire. With tensions still high, and the south in ruins, Zelna soon finds it impossible to locate a taxi driver willing to take her south. Eventually, she comes across a driver named Tony (Georges Khabbaz); a hustler and womanizer who sees a pretty face and dollar signs. Thus, the two set out on a journey across a ravaged country in search of a son, a sister and a little sanity.