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Lebanon | 2016 | 92 minutes | Sophie Boutros

Lebanese writer/director Sophie Boutros balances warm-hearted laughs with social insight in the story of a woman who discovers that her daughter's suitor is Syrian, stirring her personal prejudices and leading to increasingly farcical attempts to thwart their union.

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In this dark(ish) romantic comedy, family is the perfect metaphor for Lebanon and Syria, two countries that have so much in common, both positive and, well, otherwise. It's been 20 years since the Lebanese-Syrian war, and Therese still hasn't gotten over her brother's death by a Syrian bomb. She chats regularly with the many photographs of him that decorate the house. (He chats back.) This longstanding grief has morphed into present-day prejudice; she turns off a Syrian song on the radio and refuses food made by a Syrian refugee. But a happy occasion is at hand: Her only daughter is getting engaged and the groom's family is due for an overnight visit. Aware of her mother's prejudice, daughter Ghada has concealed one important detail: Her sweetheart, Samer, and his family are Syrian. Determined to thwart the union, Therese embarks on a series of Machiavellian maneuvers designed to tear the lovers apart, including enlisting the aid of one of Ghada's former boyfriends. Not that Samer and his family, replete with prejudices of their own, help matters much. Will decades-old resentments triumph, or will love forge a different future? Diamonds sparkle, but they're also harder than rock.

Director Biography

Sophie Boutros earned a Bachelor Degree in Directing for TV and Film at the Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA), Lebanon. For 6 years after her graduation, Sophie worked as a director, on several TV shows in Lebanon and Dubai. Sophie started her career as a music video director with Julia Boutros "La B'ahlamak" which was followed by a series of videos for other A-list Arab singers like Rashid El Majid, Abdul Majid Abdalla, Nancy Ajram, Nawal Kuweitiye among others. Boutros played a major role in founding the Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication at AUD where she currently works. Mahbas (Solitaire) is her first feature, set in Lebanon; it premiered at the Dubai international Film Festival 2016, to be theatrically released in the MENA region starting March 2017

Sponsored by The Seattle Times

  • Original Language Title: Mahbas
  • Director: Sophie Boutros
  • Principal Cast: Julia Kassar, Ali El Khalil, Bassam Koussa, Nadine Khoury, Betty Taoutel, Jaber Jokhadar, Serena Chami, Said Serhan
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Producer: Nadia Eliewat
  • Screenplay: Sophie Boutros, Nadia Eliewat
  • Cinematographers: Rachel Aoun
  • Editors: Fadi G. Haddad
  • Music: Ziad Boutros
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP