Thursday, January 31, 2008
Layale (Labaki, at right in pink) owns a beauty parlor; she’s single, lives at home and is having an affair with a married man. Her workers and friends include Jamale (Gisele Aouad), a vain, fading beauty; Nisrine (Yasmine Elmasri), who is about to have a Muslim wedding, but there’s a catch: she’s not a virgin; and Rima (Joanna Moukarzel), the butch of the bunch.
A slice-of-life movie, Caramel captures Beirut’s slow pace and Paris-style sophistication. The parlor’s broken sign and the choppy sidewalk outside symbolizes the city’s inertia.
More progressive than most Arab countries, but still holding on to its Islamic traditions, Lebanon remains a difficult place for women. Caramel’s convincing characters are caught between their desire to move ahead and the need to respect the country’s customs.
Not a lot is resolved in Caramel, though plenty of hair does magically disappear.
Posted at TheLMagazine.com