Stunningly beautiful, critically acclaimed Lebanese writer, director Nadine Labaki, whose first film was the charming and sensual Caramel (2007), has just won the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) People Choice award for her new film Where Do We Go Now?
Caramel was a seductive and romantic look at life in Beirut from the point of view of a group of women of different ages, who work in a beauty salon and help each other out and share their beauty secrets and romance advice. We get to see women of different generations and religious backgrounds in the safe, sheltered environment of a beauty shop, where they are free to talk and discuss any subject that may be taboo in Lebanese society.
It’s a movie that exposes some of the prejudices and restrictions that women still face in Arab society but uses a great deal of light hearted humor to show how women of all ages come together to deal with problems and enjoy life. Caramel refers to a sugar wax, which when warmed, is used to remove unwanted body hair but can also be enjoyed as a confection.
Nadine Labaki is a gorgeous female director who also stars as the main character in her films and when you see her you know why. She easily holds the audience’s attention with her stunning beauty. Her onscreen presence and feminine sensuality is so powerful that when she is on screen you can’t take your eyes off her.
All the women in the film are non-professional actors that Labaki found living and working in Beirut, giving the film an authenticity and believability that would not be possible with actors, and we get to know these women intimately over the course of the film.
Now she has made a new film called Where Do We Go Now?, that has just won the People’s Choice award at the TIFF and is also about women who come together and help each other to deal with a serious issue of stopping the men of their village from fighting each other in a violent war.
Again using humor to expose and deal with serious issues she retains many of her trademark story elements.