Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Caramel 2007

Sukkar banat

Directed by Nadine Labaki

This bittersweet comedy drama is filled with insight into women's lives in contemporary Lebanon. "Utterly entrancing and completely brilliant." — Film Comment

France / Lebanon In Arabic with English subtitles
95 minutes 35mm



Nadine Labaki
Jihad Hojeily
Rodney Al Haddad


Yves Sehnaoui


Laure Gardette


Khaled Mouzanar


Nadine Labaki
Yasmine Al Masri
Joanna Moukarzel
Gisèle Aouad
Adel Karam
Siham Haddad
Aziza Semaan
Fatme Safa
Dimitri Stancofski
Fadia Stella
Ismail Antar


Cannes (Directors' Fortnight), Toronto, Vancouver, London 2007


"A lovely little comedy-drama set around a Beirut beauty parlour where delicious, gooey caramel is cooked up for waxing legs. Owner Layale is a Christian in a hopeless relationship with a married man; Muslim colleague Nisrine doesn't want her fiancé to know she's not a virgin; shy salon hair-washer Rima finds herself drawn to a female client; middle-aged regular Jamale wants to be an actress and 65-year-old neighbour Rose has forgone marriage to care for her older sister. Playing out wryly in the movie's warm, golden-brown tones, these five threads weave a poignant portrait of women muddling through the uncertainties of a culture caught between the modern and the traditional." — Nick Funnell, Time Out

"The multiply blessed young Lebanese Nadine Labaki looks sublimely like Anna Magnani crossed with Penelope Cruz. She also has the brass and the chops not only to direct her first film but star in it as well... Beauty-parlor romantic comedy has been done to death and beyond, but what Caramel lacks in originality is redeemed by its exuberant sensuality and astute commentary on the way Lebanese women sit uncomfortably in the crosshairs of their country's clash between patriarchal tradition and Westernized modernity... Labaki treats her characters with wistful tenderness, raucous practicality, and enough romantic chutzpah to give almost every woman a moment, at least, when she can have exactly what she wants." — Ella Taylor, Village Voice

"Utterly entrancing and completely brilliant... Caramel is, to borrow the title from the American film it resembles in its humor, subtlety and celebration of sisterhood, lovely and amazing." — Amy Taubin, Film Comment