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TIFF 2021: “Costa Brava, Lebanon”

© Abbout Productions

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We all want to live in an idyllic place where we can have a big garden, fresh air, and lots of space for children to run around. Because city life cannot provide what we most need: freedom from garbage or toxic pollution. But what to do if the same occurs in our dream home? When everything outside is so poisonous, it almost becomes unbearable to live in?

Soraya (Nadine Labaki) and Walid (Saleh Bakri) left their life in Beirut behind and moved into their new house in the mountains. Their life in there is so peaceful, they feel there is nothing more they need from this life. The family of five, including two children and the mother, have everything to enjoy their life to the fullest. All that changes when the younger girl notices strangers, and the façade of happy life begins to fall, unravelling old pains and struggles as they live in isolation.

Screenplay by Clara Roquet and directed by Mounia Akl, “Costa Brava, Lebanon” is an impressive family drama. It dives deep into family issues, corrupt government, unconstitutional and unauthorized construction right behind the Badris’ fence. As if the government wants them to move out voluntarily. Despite the dust and growing polluted air, Walid does not want to give up and sues the government. But the question being raised in the film is, should the children live in the same isolation as their parents? Two daughters are growing. They need to have their life, explore and learn more. Living in the mountains won’t expand their horizon. But will Walid give up and allow his wife and children to move out?

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