Lebanese director Nadine Labaki is ‘filming everything’ after Beirut blast

Nadine Labaki first became a star in 2007 after the release of her debut film, “Caramel.” File/AFP
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Updated 24 October 2020

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki is ‘filming everything’ after Beirut blast

DUBAI: Lebanese director Nadine Labaki revealed at the El Gouna Film Festival that she is “filming everything” in Beirut since the Aug. 4 blast.

The Oscar-nominated director added that she doesn’t “know where it’s going to lead, or if it will ever lead anywhere,” but that she needs to “capture what’s been happening,” according to Variety.

On Aug. 4, nearly three tons of neglected ammonium nitrate detonated in the capital city’s port, leaving 190 dead, more than 6,500 injured and 300,000 without a home. Despite the tragedy, Labaki is hopeful.

“Lebanon has always been functioning without a government. That is the only hope I still have of rebuilding the country,” Labaki stated.

Labaki first became a star in 2007 after the release of her debut film, “Caramel” – a soapy movie about five women who bond in a Beirut salon.

Her most recent film, “Capernaum,” shed light on Beirut’s grinding poverty. Set against the backdrop of the city’s overcrowded, sprawling slums, the 2018 film, which made its international debut at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar in the international feature film category, beautifully captures the pre-existing chaos of present-day Beirut. 

Though it’s unclear how Labaki’s footage will take form, one can certainly expect a harrowing and moving piece of cinema, if her past work is any indication.


Jessica Kahawaty strikes a pose in Valentino campaign

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty also recently launched her own F&B concept. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 28 November 2020

Jessica Kahawaty strikes a pose in Valentino campaign

DUBAI: Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty has joined regional stars in promoting Valentino’s latest fragrance, Voce Viva, taking to social media as part of the #myvoicemystrength campaign.

Kahawaty is featured alongside fashion gurus Laila Abdallah and Leena Al-Ghouti, who also took part in the campaign with their own posts and videos on Instagram.

The Lebanese-Australian influencer posted a photo over the weekend in which she can be seen clutching the fragrance while sporting a peach sequined gown against the backdrop of a blue sky dotted with clouds. She captioned the post, “Voce Viva means to do something aloud for all to hear. Sometimes we think of our dreams, we write them down but what’s most important is saying them out loud for the universe to hear.”

Earlier in November, Kahawaty gave perfume lovers insight into the fragrance’s key notes, writing, “My voice takes on many forms: Serious, dreamy, funny... but most importantly, it always makes an impact. Meet Voce Viva fragrance with notes of orange blossom, mandarin and vanilla.”

UAE-based Palestinian-Canadian influencer Al-Ghouti took to Instagram earlier in November with a video to promote the new scent. In it, she poses with the cubic bottle against a background of foliage and rocks while wearing a monochrome outfit, complete with a black hijab.

“What does your voice mean to you?” Lebanese actress Abdallah asked in her caption, posted alongside a photo with an equally lush backdrop. In it, she poses in a sheer tulle top laid over an ochre slip.

Besides taking part in the campaign, Dubai-based Kahawaty has had a busy few months jetting to London for a fashion shoot earlier this fall and launching her own food and beverage concept with her mother in September.

Titled Mama Rita, the new service is a food delivery venture that focuses on healthy, home-cooked meals that her mother, Rita, specializes in, and which she routinely shares on social media. 

“I just want to bring my mother’s passion to life. Her food is incredible, and I want the world to try it for themselves,” said the 32-year-old in conversation with Vogue Arabia. 

“For years and years, everyone has been pleading with me to do something with my food—a cookbook, a show, a restaurant, anything! I love cooking for my friends and family as well as sharing new recipes,” said the model’s mother Rita, adding to her daughter’s statement. 

Jessica handles the logistics of the company, focusing on branding, content, photography, procuring, copywriting and website design. 

As an activist and UNICEF ambassador, Kahawaty’s new venture launched with a philanthropic element, with 100% of Mama Rita’s profits from the first two weeks going to victims of the Beirut explosion.