I love TIFF because you get to see cinema from all over the world. This unfortunately comes with a price, as there are times where I feel very out of my depth when watching certain films. A great example of this is Mounia Akl’s debut feature Costa Brava, Lebanon, which makes me feel like I do not have a strong enough grasp on the present situation in Lebanon.
What I do know is mostly trite; buzzwords like inflation and corruption. Conflicts such as the Beirut explosion (which supposedly affected our film’s production schedule) and the COVID-19 pandemic. The country sits on the brink. Having grown disgusted with the moral failures of the big city, Walid has pulled his family to an idyllic mountain home. However, the president announces the development of a new “green” landfill project just outside this idyllic home. So Walid knows that it’s only a matter of time before things get unlivable.
Yet, Walid persists onward, much to the chagrin of his partner Soraya (acclaimed director Nadine Labaki). As the wreckage piles up outside their door, the deteriorating conditions of the couple’s marriage are mirrored inside. I like what Akl is doing in terms of centering the land in Costa Brava, Lebanon. Many shots early in the film are of character’s feet as they walk, which ultimately makes the changes more impactful. I could do without the film’s not as effective emotional core, particularly the precociousness of young eight-year-old Rim (Ceana and Gina Restom).
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Melodrama, World Cinema
- Release Date: 9/12/2021
- Directed by: Mounia Akl
- Starring: Ceana and Geana Restom, François Nour, Liliane Chacar Khoury, Nadia Charbel, Nadine Labaki, Saleh Bakri, Yumna Marwan
- Produced by: Georges Schoucair, Myriam Sassine
- Written by: Clara Roquet, Mounia Akl
- Studio: Abbout Productions, Barentsfilm As, Cinema Defacto, Fox in the Snow Films AB, Lastor Media, Snowglobe