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Billal (1996)


Sixteen-year-old Lebanese-Australian Billal is struck by a car in the aftermath of fighting between Anglo–Australian and Lebanese youths on a state housing estate in south-west Sydney. Billal is hospitalised with permanent brain damage. The film follows Billal’s long fight back to some sort of health, and the stresses on his family through this period as they try to come to terms with what has happened to their son, and at the same time struggle to be relocated to another, safer suburb.

Curator’s notes

One of Zubrycki’s best films, this documentary was initially planned as a film about Lebanese youth. When the car accident happened early in the filming, producer and director Tom Zubrycki changed the film to cover the new developments. The filmmaker spent two years documenting Billal’s recovery, recording the emotional impact on Billal’s family, especially his mother. It is a revealing and moving glimpse into a little-documented community, and a valuable addition to the multicultural debate.