Fabienne Babe and Georges Corraface stroll around Beirut, take in the Roman sights at Baalbek and discuss a bit of politics between sack time in “Algiers-Beirut: A Souvenir,” a typical shoehorning of love, memory and angst in an exotic locale, so beloved of Gallic cinema. Further undercut by a dismal perf from Babe, this is feeble fare from Algerian-born helmer Merzouk Allouache, known for the far more trenchant “Bab el-Oued City” (1994) and “Salut cousin!” ( 1996).
Laurence (Babe), a Franco-Lebanese journalist, returns to a Beirut she hardly recognizes after quitting the country at the start of the civil war in 1975. She soon bumps into Rachid (Corraface), a colleague she once knew in Algiers who fled his homeland and now works as a laborer at a printing press. By-the-numbers script follows their romance, the revelation of why Rachid is living in self-exile, and Laurence’s plans to cart him back to Paris.
The actors have everything but labels on their chests to signify what they stand for, and a subplot about one of Rachid’s friends (H. Choutri) who gets fresh with a hotel maid is typical of the film’s insistence on constructs rather than rounded characters. Corraface gives the cliched dialogue the old college try; Babe, prancing round in various eye-catching get-ups, is embarrassing. Tech credits are OK.