|Caramel - سكر بنات|
Poster used in Cannes 2007
|Directed by||Nadine Labaki|
|Produced by||Anne-Dominique Toussaint|
|Written by||Nadine Labaki, Rodney El Haddad|
Yasmine Al Masri
|Music by||Khaled Mouzanar|
|Distributed by||Les Films des Tournelles
|Release date(s)||Cannes May 20, 2007
August 9, 2007
August 14, 2007
September 12, 2007
December 21, 2007
January 17, 2008
January 18, 2008
February 1, 2008
February 19, 2008
May 16, 2008
April 3, 2008
September 18, 2008
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Gross revenue||$14,248,749 (INT)|
Caramel (Arabic: سكر بنات Sukkar banat), the first feature film by Lebanese director/actress Nadine Labaki, is a 2007 Lebanese film. The film premiered on May 20 at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, in the Directors' Fortnight section. It ran for the Caméra d'Or.
Caramel was distributed in over 40 countries, easily becoming the most internationally acclaimed and exposed Lebanese film to date. Audiences around the world have embraced the simple but effective story of five Lebanese women tackling forbidden love, binding traditions, repressed sexuality, the struggle to accept the natural process of age, and duty vs. desire. Labaki's film is unique for not showcasing a war-ravaged Beirut but rather a warm and inviting locale where people deal with universal issues.
The title Caramel refers to an epilation method that consists of heating sugar, water and lemon juice. Labaki also symbolically implies the "idea of sweet and salt, sweet and sour" and showcases that everyday relations can sometimes be sticky but ultimately the sisterhood shared between the central female characters prevails.
Caramel revolves around the intersecting lives of five Lebanese women. Layale (Nadine Labaki) works in a beauty salon in Beirut along with two other women, Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri) and Rima (Joanna Moukarzel). Each one has a problem: Layale is stuck in a dead-end relationship with a married man; Nisrine is no longer a virgin but is set to be married and in her conservative family where pre-marital sex is not accepted; Rima is attracted to women; Jamale (Gisèle Aouad), a regular customer and wannabe actress, is worried about getting old; Rose (Sihame Haddad), a tailor with a shop next to the salon, is an old woman who had devoted her life to taking care of her mentally unbalanced older sister Lili (Aziza Semaan), but has found her first love. The film doesn't refer to any of the political problems or recent warfare that has troubled Lebanon. Rather, Labaki's tale paints everyday people with everyday problems.
The shooting of Caramel ended just 9 days before the Israel-Lebanon war erupted in July 2006, and was released in Cannes exactly one year after the shooting began. An old clothes shop in the Gemmayzeh area of Beirut District was transformed into a salon where the filming of the movie took place. Caroline Labaki, Nadine's sister, was the one responsible for Costume Design. The music was composed by Khaled Mouzanar. Shortly after the movie release, Labaki married him.
The film received critical acclaim from critics. As of July 3, 2009, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 92% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 67 reviews with the general consensus being:"Caramel is both an astute cultural study, and a charming comedic drama from a talented newcomer.". . Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 70 out of 100, based on 17 reviews. As of May 18, 2008, the film has grossed a little over $1,000,000 in the US, impressive since it was a very limited release. Internationally, it has amassed a little over $14 million, making it a very profitable foreign film. It was released on DVD in the United States on June 17, 2008.
The film is Lebanon's official submission to the 80th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.