Lebanese Ibrahim Maalouf Wins César, The French Equivalent Of The Oscars, For Best Original Music In a Movie

ibrahim-maalouf-cesar

Establishing himself as one of the most coveted musicians in France for this past year, French-Lebanese musician and trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf added another accolade to his growing list of achievements with his first César for his work on the movie “Dans les forêts de Sibérie.”

The César Awards are considered as the French equivalent of the Oscars, which will be held tonight. They are the highest French honor that can be given to the movie industry. It was Ibrahim Maalouf’s second nomination and first win.

Maalouf was competing against another Lebanese composer, Gabriel Yared, who has previously won an Oscar and a Grammy for his work on The English Patient.

The César adds to Ibrahim Maalouf’s achievements this year as he has previously won “best musical spectacle” at Les Victoires de La Musique almost two weeks ago.

Ibrahim Maalouf is considered by many to be a pioneer musician with his adaptation of Oriental quarter notes to Western music, by custom-made trumpets that have four valves instead of three. This has allowed Maalouf to create outstanding music over his career, including a Western version of Oum Kalthoum’s music in a 2015 album that was titled “Kalthoum.”

He credits his Lebanese immigrant background in shaping his musical voice and giving him a message to pass on through his work.

You can check the video of Maalouf winning here. He will be coming to Lebanon for a concert at Baalbek on July 22nd.

 

Advertisements

Lebanese Ely Dagher’s Waves ’98 Wins Best Short Movie Award At Cannes 2015

Ely Makhoul Cannes 2015 Waves '98

About four weeks ago, I wrote about a very promising short movie by Lebanese director Ely Dagher which was nominated for Best Short Movie at this year’s Cannes Festival (link).

The short film is an attempt by Ely Dagher to come to terms with living and growing up in Beirut, while working out of Belgium: the movie is about his adolescence years as a Lebanese lost in his own capital.  As I said before, the trailer made it seem extremely promising: it was unlike any Lebanese movie or short film I had seen before, and I had high hopes.

Well, Cannes agrees with me.

Ely Dagher Waves '98 Cannes Win

Ely Dagher just became the first Lebanese to win a major award at Cannes. By having his movie win, Ely Dagher beat out seven other nominees from seven other countries that probably cared less about their production than the Lebanese government ever did.

By being nominated in the first place, Ely Dagher beat out 4550 other short films that were submitted from all across the world. And today, I feel proud and I suppose so should you.

Let Ely Dagher’s win be a testament to Lebanese talents everywhere who can make it big, like he did, when given the chance, the funds, the backing, when they are allowed to pursue their vision beyond the confines of a Lebanese society that is so comfortable in what it knows that it never ventures out of its comfort zone, a society that squashes its own arts as forever cliches and doesn’t let its own artists truly express what they can do in fear of not being commercial enough.

I congratulate Ely Dagher for winning. Here’s hoping Waves ’98 makes it big at next year’s Oscars as well. Hopefully it’ll become the first Lebanese production to win that golden statuette as well.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Golden Globes For Your Consideration Poster & Video

Warner Bros just shared this poster with me, which they’ve been circulating as part of the award season campaign for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

After being slightly bummed out by Deathly Hallows not receiving almost any award love from Critics so far, this makes me feel slightly better that Warner Bros are not simply letting it slide. Perhaps they’re keeping the big guns for the award shows that matter.

Without further ado, here’s the poster:

There’s also this short but very well-done and emotional video. Ask me, I got goosebumps watching it.

 

Inception – Movie Review

You’re waiting for a movie, a movie that will take you where no other movie has taken you before… Inception is that movie. To say this is a brilliant movie would be a gross understatement.

Rising to the status of a cult-hit in mere months, this is beyond a doubt the movie of the year. Regardless of whether the later hype of other movies didn’t help its award chances, this is the movie that will forever remain in the minds of audiences. Sort of like last year’s Avatar. This is the movie highlight of 2010.

Written and directed by the amazing Christopher Nolan (and I mean, is there a Christopher Nolan movie that you have not really liked or come to appreciate?), Inception tells the story of a time when accessing people’s dreams to obtain information is a possibility. Cob, portrayed by the brilliant and under appreciated Leo DiCaprio, is a dream architect who is haunted by his own subconscious represented by his deceased wife, Mal (think French with the name), portrayed by the breathtaking Marion Cotillard. Accused of killing his wife, Cob is offered the chance to go back home to his children on the condition that he pulls something that was never done before – plant an idea inside the head of a business giant’s son to break down his father’s empire; hence, the title: Inception. To do this, he must get together a team that will help him pull off this multi-layered dream construct.

The movie might be about dreaming but you need to be fully awake to comprehend what’s going on. I believe the reason Inception is not getting adorned with the awards it deserves is basically because the award personnel did not understand it or found it too complicated. However, a movie of this magnitude deserves much more than the technical awards it’s scarcely receiving. Not to give Christopher Nolan a nomination for his direction is an abomination and he doesn’t look like a favorite for the original screenplay he wrote as well.

Regarding the acting, Inception’s strength is in the collective work of its whole acting body. All of the actors and actresses in this movie are helping the main character, Cob, to find salvation through this dream into the subconscious. The interactions between the characters themselves and between them and their surroundings are truly marvelous, a simple manifestation of the brilliance of the screenplay and director moving them.

The special effects in the movie are top-notch and some parts are reminiscent of The Matrix. The movie bends around the laws of physics like child’s play  and somehow manages to convince you that all of this makes sense.

The soundtrack, composed by Hans Zimmer, is also my favorite out of all the movie soundtracks released this year. My favorite track on it “Time,” a musical composition that I believe is absolutely stunning. Another notable track is “Dream Is Collapsing.” Listening to the soundtrack, it flows very smoothly and  feels like it’s one part it’s separated into tracks. The inspiration for it was “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” by the great Edith Piaf.

Overall, if you haven’t watched this then what are you still doing reading this?