Saturday, 17 May 2008

The Difference A Week Makes

Its funny the difference a week makes. It's only a small independent dog show and standards are lower but all the same, it goes very well. Doggo weaves brilliantly, hits all his contacts and we score results of 4th, 4th, 4th and 10th, with one 'elimination' thrown in for a bit of balance. Mind you a run of 4th's means we don't get among the trophies which go to the top three but it does at least bode well for the more serious stuff next weekend. The 'elimination' came in something called the 'stinger', which was more of a 'stinker' really. They'd wrapped a tunnel around one of the other obstacles (the A-frame) and the idea was to keep your dog out of the tunnel. Not many people managed it and we weren't one of them.

Home later for more pre-run pasta and a childhood favourite of lemon curd sponge, L does spoil me, she doesn't even like it.

Planning to be AF, we hit the cinema again and I stick to coffee but just the one this time.

We see a Lebanese film called 'Caramel'. The film takes place in modern-day Beirut, in a beauty salon called Si Belle. The title refers to the caramelized sugar used to wax the salon’s customers. The story follows five women as they cope with various 'life' dilemmas, generally involving romance. Surprisingly for a film based in Beirut, there are no references to war or politics which is some achievement and a positive one.

The owner of the salon is Layal, played by Nadine Labaki, who also wrote and directed the film. Layal is too caught up in an affair with a married man to notice the attention she is getting from a traffic policeman who flirts with her while slapping parking tickets on her car. Who says romance is dead? The 'caramel' also comes in useful for inflicting pain on her lover's wife, when she ends up in the salon.

Meanwhile, her employees at the salon have their own problems. Nisrine is about to get married, but is worried that her husband-to-be will find out that she's been putting it about rather than saving herself for him. She goes to see if a surgeon can fix the problem for her.

There's Rima who has more of interest in women and takes to fondling the hair of a customer she fancies, as she washes it and talks them into getting it cut short.

There's Rose, an elderly seamstress who hopes to find love with a chap called Charles but is thwarted by the slightly demented Lili, who she looks after. Lili's favourite pastime seems to be collecting parking tickets from other people cars.

Finally there's an odd side-story about Jamal, an aging actress, who just seems to be worried about getting old and tries to cling to her youth. Don't we all.

The movie shows that even modern day Beirut still operates under old Islamic laws, it’s just now that western influence means that short skirts and mobile phones are allowed. Layal finds that you cannot book a hotel room unless you are either married or a prostitute, while a couple can easily get harassed by the police just for sitting talking in their car.

L said the storyline was simple and clear but I still got lost, probably because I'm not a girl. There were too many stories going on at once for me and as it was Lebanese, we had those subtitles things again. I do find it hard to follow subtitles and pictures at the same time.

It's certainly a girl's film; all the men in the film were a bit of an afterthought and as a man, I felt very sorry for the old chap, Charles, who got stood up at the end.

It's been likened it to a Lebanese 'Sex In The City', which is perhaps why it mystified me, they could have made quite a good soap opera out of it but thankfully they didn't. It was better made than that and well acted. An interesting but not particularly thrilling insight into a different culture. I found it all a bit depressing because in the end I'm not sure that anyone actually got what they really wanted.

No comments:

Post a Comment