The Fifth War

(Al Harb Al Kamisah)

Fronted by Vanessa Redgrave and narrated entirely in English, The Fifth War gives a visceral account of the 1978 ‘Litani Operation’, in which Israeli forces invaded south Lebanon aiming to eradicate the PLO.

A war documentary that stands as an example of both the possibilities of international solidarity and also its dangers. Co-directed by an Iraqi and German filmmaker and starring a British actress, its proximity to the violence of the Litani Operation resulted in the loss of two of its members during filming. —Jemma Desai

Director Biographies

Monica Maurer (Germany) is an independent filmmaker. Maurer originally studied Sociology and Communication Sciences in Munich and Berlin at University. She later worked as a journalist for several newspapers in Germany and for the US-based radical magazine “Ramparts”. Maurer has been making films since the 60s. Between 1977 and 1982 she made films in cooperation with the Palestinian Cinema Institution and the Information Department of the PRCS. Currently she is working on digitising her film archive and on a film project-in-progress entitled SHOOTING REVOLUTION. She is also a member of the Board of Archive of the Working Class Movement (AAMOD).

Director Filmographies

Palestine in Flames (1988/89), Listen! (1985), War Lab (1984), Why? (1982), ASHBAL-Pulse of Life (1981), YOM AL ARD (1981), Born out of Death (1981), The Fifth War (1980), Children of Palestine (1979), Palestine Red Crescent (1978)

Production Year



Monica Maurer Samir Nimr


German Democratic Republic Palestine

Dialogue Languages

Arabic English

Subtitle Language


Primary Contact

Monica Maurer


Mauro Contini

Director of photography

Tawfik Musa Edward Al Qash Mohamed Awad Samir Nimr

Sound design

Hussein Younes Shahir Soumi

Music composer

Huseyin M. Nazeq

Production company

Palestinian Cinema Institute Samed for Cinema Production

Coproduction company

Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico