Costa Brava, Lebanon
Fiction, director: Mounia Akl, Lebanon/France/Spain/Sweden/Denmark/Norway/Qatar, 2021, 107 min., Arab. with En. ST
The free-spirited Badri family escapes the overwhelming pollution and social unrest of Beirut by seeking refuge in an idyllic mountain home they built for themselves. Their lives take an unexpected turn when the government decides to build a new “green” garbage landfill right beyond their fence. Yet both Soraya (Nadine Labaki) and Walid (Saleh Bakri) don’t trust the “ecological” plans of the corrupt Lebanese political elite and are well aware that it is only a matter of time until they begin burning garbage here, too, making the Badri’s serene home unlivable. As the landfill rises, so do family tensions. The Badris are left with a choice: stay off the grid or leave their beloved home and face the reality they fled, hoping to stay true to their ideals. Mounia Akl’s debut film is a moving exploration of Lebanon’s current existential crisis. It had its world premiere in the 2021 Venice Film Festival and has won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize in the El Gouna Film Festival.