Georg (Ganz) is a hardened war journalist who opts to cover the dangerous civil war in Beirut for a West German paper with cynical photographer Hoffman (Skolimoski), leaving behind a rocky, barren marriage. Adrift amid the gutted Lebanese city, where the shelling never ceases, Georg finds an odd kind of sustenance when he reconnects with a lovely old acquaintance, Arianna (Schygulla), now widowed.
Filmed on location in Beirut, and shot in a quasi-documentary style, Schlondorff's war tragedy sets a fictional tale of love between a battle-worn correspondent and a wealthy Lebanese woman against the backdrop of a bloody, real-life conflict. Ganz plays Georg as an empty soul who begins to discover his conscience through Schygulla’s Arianna. Polish director Skolimoski has a fine turn, too, as a man utterly desensitized to violence, casually anesthetizing corpses on his street outings. A film of visceral immediacy, “Deceit” ponders whether all is truly fair in love and war.