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Caramel was Lebanon’s official entry in the Foreign Language category of the 2007 Academy Awards. It is produced by successful French/Belgian producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint, who has companies in France, Belgium and now Lebanon. It was Toussaint’s encouragement that turned young Nadine Labaki’s dream into a realised screenplay – which Labaki wrote and directed. She also stars as Layale, the Beirut beautician whose salon is the centre for the film’s action.

The story: In Beirut, five women who work or frequent a beauty salon, a colourful and sensual microcosm of the city where several generations come into contact, talk and confide in each other. Beautiful Layale (Nadine Labaki) is oblivious to the gaze of a local admirer and instead fixates on a married man. Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri) will soon be married but is afraid her fiancé will discover he isn’t her first lover. Rima (Joanna Moukarzel) has designs on one of her stunning customers. Jamale (Gisele Aouad) is an aspiring actress and is refusing to grow old, while aging seamstress Rose (Siham Haddad) is overwhelmed when she attracts the attentions of a gentleman customer.

Anne-Dominique Toussaint’s credits since 2000:
Caramel (2007) (producer)
J'attends quelqu'un (2007) (producer)
... aka Waiting for Someone
Odette Toulemonde (2006) (co-producer)
Moustache, La (2005) (producer)
... aka The Moustache
Retour à Kotelnitch (2003) (producer)
Violence des échanges en milieu tempéré (2003) (associate producer)
... aka Work Hard, Play Hard
Coût de la vie, Le (2003) (producer)
... aka The Cost of Living
Respiro (2002) (co-producer)
... aka Respiro: Grazia's Island
Slogans (2001) (producer)
Battement d'ailes du papillon, Le (2000) (producer)
... aka Happenstance (UK) (USA)
... aka Amelie 2
... aka The Beating of the Butterfly's Wings
En vacances (2000) (producer)
... aka Holiday
Iedereen beroemd! (2000) (co-producer)
... aka Everybody Famous
Toreros (2000) (co-producer)
... aka Hora del silencio, La (Spain)

Published September 18, 2008

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Anne-Dominique Toussaint


Andrew L. Urban recorded an in-depth interview with Toussaint for the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s Centre for Screen Business, in which she talks about the process of getting Caramel made – and shot just 6 days before the outbreak of war.


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