Borhan Alaouié and Maroun Baghdadi both began their careers at the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War and used their critical film making to stand up against division and sectarian tendencies in Lebanese society. They developed a cinema that was novel and differed strongly in form and language from mainstream cinema up till then, often consciously blurring the barrier between the genres of documentary and fiction.
Their films were often shot under extremely difficult conditions, in the streets of Beirut, in the midst of ruins and bombs. Through this radically new approach to film making they developed a visual language that was direct, remote from melodrama and pathos and engaged the spectator directly through its realism.
With their new aesthetic, Alaouié and Baghdadi became highly influential for later generations of Lebanese film makers and video artists, who address issues of quotidian life during wars and conflicts and the devastating consequences of violence and social fragmentation. The themes of violence and brutality and the consequences for human co-existence became central in the works of both film makers already at an early stage. The two films Beirut the Encounter (1981, Borhan Alaouié) and Little Wars (1982, Maroun Baghdadi) both recount stories of people whose normal lives are upset due to the madness of the war and become almost surreal. Borhan Alaouié and Maroun Baghdadi succeeded through their films to give the people "behind the news" a face, in fact to give them their individuality back. Through this humanist aproach, they gained international recognition.