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The feature-length Lebanese debutant Mounia Akl presented herself at the Venice festival with a striking and brilliantly thought-out drama set in her country in the near future. Eight years ago, Walid (Saleh Bakri) and Souraya (Nadine Labaki) decided to move with their daughters from polluted and restless Beirut to the surrounding mountains. And we see right from the beginning that they managed to build a kind of utopia there, almost a self-sustaining oasis of peace in nature that is far from all political turmoil, unrest and problems. Walid was once a political journalist, Souraya a famous singer, and they were united by activism and protests against the corrupt government.

But apparently at one point they signed the capitulation, gave up their ideals and struggle, moved to the hills around Beirut, trying to live with as little contact as possible with the rest of the world. But even though they tried to escape from the world, the world decided to come closer to them because the government decided to build a dump right next to their land. Next to the garbage dump, there is clearly a huge statue of the president, whose attempt to solve the city’s pollution problem is another in a series of pre-election tricks, and such encroachment on their living space and making normal life impossible will also lead to discord in this family.

We get to know Walid from the beginning as one of those angry, bitter idealists who is clearly the dominant character and everything has to be his way. And while the younger daughter Rim sees him as an idol, we will understand that Souraya and 17-year-old daughter Tala are increasingly beginning to question the decision to run away. Souraya will begin to suspect that the idea of ​​relocating was cowardice and that they should have continued to fight, and while Walid is convinced that self-imposed exile in the hills will solve everything, he also realizes that it was not the best solution, but he is too proud and too stubborn to give in. .

And while the name of the film itself is a bit ironic because the Costa Brava is a famous riviera in Catalonia (the co-writer of the film is the Catalan screenwriter and director Clara Roquet, so perhaps we should look for the answer to the question where the name of the film comes from), it is a problematic film that is very reminiscent of reality even though the action takes place in the near future. It is mentioned how this couple decided to leave Beirut after the explosion, after the city became terribly polluted, which was especially problematic because the older daughter is asthmatic. Akl brilliantly contrasts the almost utopian idyll that this family has seemingly managed to create for themselves with the piles of garbage that will begin to fill their yard and they will no longer be able to breathe there, let alone live.

It is a film with a strong political message and a lot of symbolism, which may talk about the problems of a family from Lebanon, but we see that it is a universal theme and that the situation is the same almost everywhere. People who are bothered by injustice seem to be faced with the choice of escaping somewhere or becoming a conformist, accepting the current situation and adapting. Struggle and resistance seem to become completely futile and impossible everywhere because it is a lost battle in advance. That’s how Walid’s sister left Lebanon and moved to Colombia, no less, no more, and she keeps calling her brother and his family to join her. In one scene, one of the characters brilliantly remarks that it’s incredible how he can love and hate his country so much at the same time, and I think that’s a feeling known to many people in our area, disappointed by the politics of corrupt thieves who brought the country to where it is. “Costa Brava” was a finely thought-out, current, interesting film with interesting characters and a strong message.