Affairs, Lesbians, Arabic
Starring Yasmine Al Masri, Gisele Aouad, Joanna Moukarzel, Siham Haddad, Adel Karam, Nadine Labaki, Fatme Safa, Aziza Semaan
Director Nadine Labaki
Composer Khaled Mouzanar
Director of Photography Yves Sehnaoui
Producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint
Screenwriter Rodney Al Haddad, Jihad Hojeily, Nadine Labaki
A Beirut beauty salon becomes a treasured meeting place for several generations of women, from various walks of life, to talk, seek advice and confide in one another. Directors Nadine Labaki. Actors Adel Karam, Yasmine Masri, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisele Aouad, Sihame Haddad, Aziza Semaan, Fatmeh Safa, Ismail Antar, Fadia Stella, Dimitri Staneofski.
Warm and sweet, this Lebanese film lives up to its titular substance without ever being too sugary. Actress Nadine Labaki cowrote and directed CARAMEL, an ensemble comedy set in and around a Beirut beauty salon. Labaki also stars as Layale, a beautician torn by her secret affair with a married man who beckons her with his car horn. Her coworker Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri) is about to get married, but she withholds a secret from her fiancé and hides her modern looks from his family. Meanwhile, shampooist Rima (Joanna Moukarzel) lusts after a female customer and her lush locks. Client and aging actress Jamal (Gisele Aouad) makes frequent visits to the salon to measure up to her much younger competition, but her efforts don't seem to be helping her career. In contrast, Rose (Siham Haddad) seems to have given up the fight against her advancing years, but the appearance of a new suitor may change things, even though she devotes most of her time to the care of her older sister (Aziza Semaan). In her directorial debut, Labaki displays both beauty and brains. Few women in cinema history have looked as stunning onscreen as Labaki does here, but she doesn't let her looks carry her. It's a sensitive performance that stands out among the others in the film, but she never overshadows her costars, who are all excellent in their acting debuts. More like the French film VENUS BEAUTY INSTITUTE than the American comedy BEAUTY SHOP, CARAMEL is a mature film that still manages to be a lot of fun. There's certainly romance here, but the film centers more on the relationships and bonds between the six women at its heart.