Meet the Filmmakers: A LEMON PERFUME
Interview with director Sarah Carlot Jaber
Director Sarah Carlot Jaber
What is the teaser text for your film A LEMON PERFUME?
A Lebanese couple can’t seem to succeed in conceiving a child. Under the pressure of her husband's family, Rita starts questioning herself. One night, she decides to release the pressure in the company of her friend Mona.
What is the original idea of your film – how did it all start?
My inspiration for A LEMON PERFUME came from my family experience and my observations of oriental society. I wanted to talk about women. The film happens now, in Lebanon. It’s the story of women searching for freedom. Rita is smothered in life, for a woman to get pregnant from another man than her husband is an unacceptable act. You only need to search the Internet to find that women, who have got into the same situation as Rita, get insulted. I chose to place this theme in an oriental society where sterility is poorly perceived and where the role of women is often restricted to that of a mother. As a feminist political activist, I’m used to taking punch actions that are little shakes in the system during which we can for an instant take power. For a film, I feel the process can go much further. The goal of making a film isn’t to provoke. It allows you to offer a view on the world. It’s essential for an author to think about the theme of the project and what they want to talk about to transmit a message. A good film is one that presents a point of view, whatever it may be. Afterwards, whether or not we agree is something different. I talk about stories of women and develop female characters firstly because I am a woman and can empathise more with a female character. It’s a question of identifying. It’s also important to talk about stories of women because cinema is still too uneven in respect to gender. For instance, the technicians in cinema are mostly men, actresses are less well paid than men and often have to correspond to far stricter physical criteria once again determined by the view of a (male) producer. For an equal project, female directors often get smaller budgets than men… and the list goes on.
Scene from A LEMON PERFUME
What was your highlight during the process of filmmaking?
I like to work with a strongly written scenario so as to work on what lies in the subtext of the characters on the set. Going from something light hearted whilst touching on a heavier subject. I wanted to work on the colours and the image by composing frames that were sometimes very fixed and technical. I'm very inspired by the films of Pedro Almodovar and of Emir Kusturica. But before the technique, there was always the place of the actors. It’s sometimes difficult to adapt the technique. Some actors exhaust themselves doing too many takes. You must therefore avoid this to keep as much freshness as possible, especially when the actors aren’t professional.
If you weren't a filmmaker, you'd be…?
I think I could have been a psychologist. I like observe and dissect human relationships. Cinema is not so far away from that! A movie is a kind of human relationships reconstruction. It's fascinating!
Is it your first time in Munich? What do you expect of the city and the festival?
I would like to enjoy the festival, watch films, socialize, and explore the city! It’s so exiting! See you soon!
Behind the Scenes: A LEMON PERFUME
- This film will be screened in Program 3
- Filmschool: IAD, Institut des Arts de Diffusion
- A LEMON PERFUME Facebook
- A LEMON PERFUME Trailer
Director Sarah Carlot Jaber will be attending the festival. In case you can not come to the screening and Q&A, post your questions on Twitter - don't forget to use the following hashtags: #fsfmuc15 & #askthedirector.