Given her newest film bagged an award in Toronto ( People’s Choice Award for Where Do We Go Now?), I rushed to catch up with Labaki’s previous big project which surprised many audiences around the world.
Caramel is directed, written and stars Nadine Labaki herself. It presents Beirut from the perspective of women. Everything evolves around a beauty salon which is traditionally a centre where they all meet, talk and where a few of them work. The atmosphere is bitter sweet as caramel may get depending on how well burnt it is. Even the colour palette is yellow-brownish the way caramel is.
The women are both young and old and they all have their problems, which mysteriously seem to be evolving around men. And yet, when all fails, they always stick together against all problems brought from the outside world. Beautiful, carefully directed cinema. A must.
An update from 2010 Warsaw Film Festival, where the film won the Grand Prix.
It is a very twisted story of a family in an unspecified country which most probably is Lebanon. The plot is told in parallel with events being presented with 30-year gaps between the scenes when the mother and the daughter are of the same age.
All begins with a very intriguing scene at the swimming pool, to which the viewers are brought many times – in a way that human memory works, when we begin to realise more and more and begin to understand aspects that we missed the first and second and the third time when we watched the scene. A very crafty method as used in the classic film noir.
A very powerful film, a wartime and political drama as well as a family drama.
Important to watch for similar reasons to A Separation; namely to get a different perspective from our Euro-centric point of view.