The Daily Star interviews Rock the Casbah stars Laila Marrakchi and Nadine Labaki. Marrakchi directed the film, while Labaki is a filmmaker in her own right, with her 2007 “Sikkar al-Banat” (Caramel), a dramedy centering on an east Beirut beauty salon, as well as“Wa Halla l’Wayn?” (Where Do We Go Now?) a fable-like film about a Lebanese every village, where Christian and Muslim women join together to stop the menfolk from warring.
Labaki and Marrakchi have been promoting Marrakchi second film “Rock the Casbah,” which tells the story of “the family of a deceased Tangier business mogul packs up its anxieties and reassembles for three days of funeral and tragi-comic plot unraveling.”
In the interview Marrakchi talks about the inspiration for the film, her uncle’s funeral, and the “talking” which produced the characters and plotlines:
“That was a way for me to find the story,” she says. “I looked around at my cousins. I spent a lot of time with these women. Talking, talking, talking. I know them very well now, more than the men. I know all their ways of thinking and moving. I know all their frustrations and contradictions.
“I tried to find a different character for each … yet they’re all looking for more from life, to be more. They want more freedom and to find what they want to do in life.”
Labaki talks about acting as a way “to sidestep certain cultural obstacles that are particularly obtrusive in the Arab world.”
“I’m sure that living in Lebanon … taught me to self-censor,” she says. “It’s not really good but it becomes your second nature. You grow up with the word ‘ayb’: It’s a shame to do that; it’s a shame to do this. This shame becomes part of your nature.
“Even if you want to rebel, [it’s difficult] just out of love for the people around you. You want to respect what they expect from you.You have this contradiction in yourself between the person you want to be and the person you allow yourself to be. Because of the weight of responsibility in this society, because you live in a community, Lebanese and Arab women have a lot of weight on their shoulders.”
And here’s Labaki talking about Wa Halla l’Wayn?” (Where Do We Go Now?)