Caramel (2007)

Original Title

سكر بنات Sukkar banat





Nadine Labaki, Adel Karam, Yasmine Al Masri, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad, Sihame Haddad, Aziza Semaan, Fatmeh Safa, Ismail Antar, Fadia Stella, Dimitri Staneofski


While single Layale (Nadine Labaki) struggles with her growing attraction to a married man, Muslim bride-to-be Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri) fears that her husband will find out that she has already lost her virginity, and Rima (Joanna Moukarzel) wages a futile war against her lesbian instincts. As with many women who frequent the salon, Jamale (Gisèle Aouad) does everything within her power to reverse the visible effects of aging. As Rose (Sihame Haddad) laments the fact that she has sacrificed her own happiness in order to care for her older sister Lili (Aziza Semaan), the intimate conversations shared over the course of a typical day reveal just how universal the lives, loves, and concerns of contemporary women truly are.


When I was asked to watch and review this film I told myself, "Why not? How bad can a film called Caramel be?". Well, I'm so glad this one has been my first Lebanese film, because it is absolutely stunning. God bless Nadine Labaki!

Superbly shot, written, and acted, Caramel is a delightful, refined, genuine, and touching portrait of the life for women in Lebanon, filled with class and realism.

In the role both of director, co-writer and actress, Nadine Labaki perfectly managed to balance the emotions throughout the film. It will make you smile, laugh, and cry, and there are barely words to express the feelings I felt during the screening.

Set in modern-day Lebanon, the film mainly takes place at a salon, where it's prepared the caramel used for waxing. In addition to that, caramel is a comparison of the female protagonists. In fact, they are sweet like caramel, but at the same time their lives are filled with emotional pain intense such as that caused from hair removal. All the decisions are taken using firm strokes, from Layale's decision to end up her relationship with a married man, to the heartbreaking and touching choice Rose made of giving up on love to take care of his older and needy sister. 

The camera moves perfectly, and the simple shots of the characters are able to grasp the depths of the gaze. Yves Sehnaoui's wonderful cinematography deserves a mention, and so does the charming music of Khaled Mouzanar, which blends with the film stunningly. The performances are also stunning. And it's impressive considering it's Yasmine Al Masri, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad, and Siham Haddad's first time. 

Jamale: Life is like a melon, you have to cut it to see if it's good.

1 comment :

  1. I actually came to read the review of this movie simply because I just loved the cover of it so much! Truth be told, it looks like it is going to be an interesting one which shows we are all different, and I like that it has been done so well. I will make sure I see this one at some point!