Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Caramel (2007) PG - 4 Stars

Aka Sukkar Banat, the film is in Lebanese with subtitles and maybe considered somewhat of a "chick flick", but speaking from a woman's point of view, I really loved this foreign movie. The Arabic women are so richly portrayed with their deeply hidden emotional problems. I fell in love with Aziza Semaan in her role of Lili. The movie makes me appreciate the close cultural traditions, of certain ethnic groups, that I think we Americans loose site of unless we dig deep into our roots. Just the way the girl friends flock together to celebrate when one of them will marry, the mother daughter speech before the wedding, as well as putting the love of an aging family member before ones own personal needs, it all quietly shows the beauty of the family/friendship bond. It also shows that woman all over the world share in the same set of problems. Bravo Nadine for giving us something so enlightening from the middle east which we rarely hear anything else but war stories.

The film takes place in Beirut, Lebanon at the SiBelle beauty salon where 5 women work together. Layale (Nadine Labaki), in is love with a policeman named Rabih. But she can not announce it to the world as Rabih is married with a child. She secretly slips away to be with him when he calls. Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri), is a Muslim about to be wed but she fears on the wedding night her husband will find out that she's not a virgin anymore. She evens goes through great lengths to rectify the problem. Rima (Joanna Moukarzel) tries to hide her lesbian instincts when a new customer comes to the shop for regular appointments with her. Jamale (Gisèle Aouad) is an aging actress that tries everything to keep herself in the fountain of youth. Rose (Siham Haddad) is the local seamstress who sacrifices her own needs to take care of her aging sister Lili (Aziza Semaan). Together, the group tastefully shares their intimate lives, revolving around sex and men, while at the same time uplifting the souls of their clientele with caramel.

Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions
Director: Nadine Labaki
Writers: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, Rodney al Haddad
Producer: Anne-Dominique Toussaint
I viewed 11/08

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