Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Sukkar Banat - Caramel

2007 by Nadine Labaki

One of the best things about the great movie, The Band's visit, was that inspite of its setting in a region filled with war and politics, it never looked into those aspects, just life. Sukkar Banat is set in Beirut, but it is a really funny movie and not once does it mention about the turmoils around. It can be easily mistaken as happening in Paris, as there is lot of French.

A simple, but funny, movie about few women. Three of them working in their beauty salon, one an aspiring model and another an older woman tailor, taking care of her older sick sister. 

I know many who think women ought to be ruled and women are much inferior to men. Similarly there are also people who would bluntly say women cannot be great behind the camera. Well, the beautiful Nadine Labaki, with her very first film, has made history. Her debutant venture is considered the most acclaimed movie from Lebanon, internationally. This charming woman, who is only 37, also plays Layale, the leading character as the Salon owner, who falls for a married man in her debut as a director. She is beautiful, charming and intelligent too. And she does something even many a man are hesitant to, acting and directing at the same time and is brilliant in both. Just one scene, when the police man who is attracted to Layale, watches her, talking to her lover, from the coffee shop across to her salon, is enough to prove her intelligence. I loved that scene. It was brilliant.

For, Sukkar Banat, allow us to have a peek at the lives of few women, their secrets, their aspirations et all and turns out as a very simple, but wonderful movie. The movie is full of simple things and it offers some simple fun. The characters are really interesting and we can easily identify with them, but still laugh at the scenes. The scene when Nisrine takes her fiancee for a family dinner is hilarious. So are some of the interludes by the sick old sister of Rosa. I think I had a smile through out, watching this movie. One scene, where the three ladies celebrate the marriage of Nisrine being fixed early was simply beautiful. In fact, I could find something, very touching, genuine and beautiful in almost all the scenes in this movie.

It is quite surprising to see how close we, India, are with Arab world in many aspects. The way the women made that celebratory (invoking) sound by moving their tongue was surprisingly shocking for me. So was the music, there is no doubt, from where we have the Ghazal music and some melodic patterns in Hindustani classical music.

For those who like extra ordinary camera works, this might be nothing, but I thought the cinematography to be wonderful as the camera was nearly like a candid partner to the 5 women. The music also was wonderful.

A very romantic movie about some women, but will be thoroughly enjoyed by men as well. And the most important male character in the movie, a beautiful police man wooing Layale, was really good too.