Skies of Lebanon

Skies of Lebanon ★★★★½


Skies of Lebanon (Sous le ciel d'Alice)

NR - 4.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Documentary

Year Released: 2022

Runtime: 1h 32m

Director(s): Chloé Mazlo

Writer(s): Chloé Mazlo, Yacine Badday

Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Wajdi Mouawad, Joseph Kamar

Where To Watch: opens at New York City's IFC Center on July 22nd, Santa Monica's Laemmle Theaters Monica on July 29th, and will have additional theatrical rollout following these launches.

Someone had mentioned that this is almost a spiritual successor to the 2001 film LE FABULEUX DESTIN D'AMÉLIE POULAIN (otherwise known as AMÉLIE,) and I can’t disagree. The film combines multiple styles, including stop-motion-animation, in such a way that allows the viewer to still stay entirely within the story. Chloé Mazlo can give off the feeling of a combination of Wes Anderson meets Jean-Pierre Jeunet in the best way possible. I wish I could remember where I saw that comparison to give proper credit.

This is Chloé Mazlo’s feature film debut, and I genuinely cannot wait to see what she does next. The film takes place in the 50s and tells the story of Alice (Alba Rohrwacher), who falls in love with Joseph (Wajdi Mouawad), and tells the story about their perfect life until everything falls apart due to the world around them. Inspired by her own family's history, it feels like a film from the 70s (if I hadn’t looked it up, I honestly would’ve never known it was shot a few years ago.) Interestingly, the film was initially titled “Sous le ciel d'Alice” or Under Alice's Sky; I like the sound of the original title more, but I can understand why it was changed.

I would without hesitation say this is one of my favorite films of the year. It is hard to say how high it will end when I do my pre-Oscar recap, but it has a happy home on that list! The bright colors, animation, actors, and the entire feel of the film against the stark backdrop of what happens around everything is reminiscent of MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI or FANTASTIC MR. FOX. There’s something magical about a story like this.

Never be afraid to try something new; try watching films that you otherwise may not, and you’ll be surprised how deep the proverbial rabbit hole truly goes.

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