Saturday, June 07, 2008

Caramel Revisited

Still from Caramel, directed by Nadine Labaki
While I have already reviewed Nadine Labaki's debut, Caramel (original title Sukkar banat), the delightful ensemble piece set in a Beirut beauty parlour, I wanted to revisit it for a couple of reasons.

I am pleased to see it's been hanging around the UK top ten for awhile now, rubbing shoulders with Iron Man, Indiana Jones and other more typical entries. To have a film directed by a woman, with a female cast, in a foreign language (Arabic and French) reaching large numbers of moviegoers is very pleasing indeed.

It also puts me in mind of the recent blog discussion about the rarity of films featuring female leads (and I number myself among the early adopters of the Bechdel-Wallace Test). Hollywood films are the focal point of the discussion and many explanations have been offered for the lack of female protagonists.

Thank heavens for Vivere, Caramel and other independent films, which don't conform to the expectation that the protagonist must be male and the leading lady the underwritten love interest.

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