'Costa Brava, Lebanon': Homelands Deserve Us to Resist

A Story About Lebanon That Has Been Drained by Corruption

Costa Brava, Lebanon (2021)
Costa Brava, Lebanon (2021)

'Costa Brava, Lebanon': Homelands Deserve Us to Resist

When you are in the middle of the crisis, standing alone and seeing no hope, will you continue fighting? Or you will give up? If the concern is your country falling apart, will you stay or leave? A difficult question to answer because of the different conditions people may face deciding the answer. Some people can start all over again, but others cannot do the same for many reasons; one of them is our existence which is somehow connected to our homelands

Parting our place and starting again is not an easy path for many, but sometimes the infinite corruption and the people themselves who are corrupted and greedy spoil any trial to make things better.

Imagine escaping to a planted and grown place by yourself, far away from the city, to lead a calm life, leaving all pollution and political issues. Suddenly, the corruption comes to your doorstep and heralds another crisis! That is what happened with the Badri family in Costa Brava.

The film was directed and co-written by Mounia Akl (together with Clara Roquet) and stars Lebanese Nadine Labaki, Palestinian Saleh Bakri, young actress Nadia Charbel, and twins Siana and Gianna Rostom. It was shot during the COVID19 pandemic after the explosion of the Beirut port.

Costa Brava, Lebanon is about the griefs of a place no longer like what it used to be and about the existential and inner struggle to resist. The story takes us on a very complicated journey to find out what this struggle will lead the protagonists of the story? Costa Brava depicts the life of the Badri family, who moved to live in the mountains to escape the polluted air and other political problems in Beirut. Amidst the tensions the family is experiencing because of being isolated, a garbage dump is suddenly set up in front of their house. 

Simulating the dark truth, the film imitates a reality experienced by many families who were forced to evacuate their homes due to the garbage crisis that reached its peak in Lebanon in 2015 and sparked an angry protest movement in the Lebanese street.

Tarek (Francois Nour), the environmental engineer, assures the family that everything is done with moral and international protections, no matter how they seem to have chosen the last green space in the district to blow up a giant crater and fill it with trash!

Walid (Saleh Bakri) wants to sue them as soon as he sees that this landfill is as volatile and polluted as the last. Still, he knows it is out of reach, the certainty that will eventually push the family to the breaking point because they realize corruption is everywhere. They cannot live peacefully even in the mountain, and despite their isolation, the city's problems will find them sooner or later.

Soraya (Nadine Labaki) lived with Walid in the bleakness because she loved him and saw how frustrated he was to achieve a real change. They always agreed that they would come back if they became unhappy, and she reached a moment that could not hide the fact that she had become so.

Tala (Nadia Charbel) is a teenage girl who yearns for love which made her fascinated by Tarek from first sight. Her mother, and her role model, Soraya was discovered to be great singer who wrote with passion has a stunning voice that one day was filling the city, making her hope she could do the same. Rim, the youngest daughter, is the polar opposite. She's the daughter of her father, who brought her with a sense of entitlement at a young age. The daughter will take without hesitation the side of her father but also may be able to persuade him to change his mind.

"All the scenes were filmed in the mountain by an excellent team in the field of visual effects from Jordan, Denmark, and France who helped the crew to create a huge garbage dump on the screen without harming the environment or getting close to a single tree, as the main goal of the film is to preserve the environment," director Mounia Akl said to Reuters.

The plot reflects the battle that the Lebanese are fronting, which is the conflict between hope and despair and the struggle for change or surrender to reality. The conflict is symbolized in the encounter between the mother (Labaki), who wants to return to the city to change it, and the father (Bakri), who seems depressed and has lost hope.

8 years of isolation were enough for Soraya to make precisely her choice. She will fight not only for Lebanon, but for herself, for the future of her daughters, and for the real inner desire to be among people inside the districts of Beirut, face corruption, and sing and raise her voice again. 

Costa Brava, Lebanon participated in many film festivals around the world, such as Venice International Film Festival. It won the NEPTAC (Network for the Advancement of Asian Cinema) Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Audience Award at the BFI (British Film Institute) London Film Festival, and El Gouna Green Star Award at El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt.

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