Mounia Akl’s Dystopian Film ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ Wins Big in Toronto

Starring Nadine Labaki

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Nadine Labaki needs no introduction. Chances are, you know her as the Oscar-nominated director of Capernaum, or perhaps as the filmmaker and star behind the cult-classic Caramel. 

Her most recent achievement? A role in Mounia Akl’s feature film Costa Brava, Lebanon. The film which just snagged the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema at (NETPAC) at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival. A win for Akl and Labaki alike. 

Starring alongside Saleh Bakri, the film sees Soraya Bakri (played by Labaki) and her family grapple with Beirut’s 2015 Garbage Crisis, when the city’s streets were filled with uncollected trash. But while set during that time, the drama is one that’s centered on family, focusing on a major theme of escapism. The questions Akl posed, and Labaki and Bakri articulated through their roles was: can you create your own utopia off-the-grid? And what does that reality look like if you do so to escape crisis and your dreams are crushed? 

I tried to imagine this dystopian future where none of our problems had been solved and the country was an extreme version of itself,” Akl told Arab News on the film. “The reality of Lebanon became more tragic and more dystopian than even the dystopia that I imagined in 2030,” she added.

The film, which was shot just months after the tragic August 4 explosion that took place in Beirut, is a must-watch. 

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