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Sabah

Directed by Ruba Nadda
Canada, 2005 (fiction, 90 minutes, colour, Arabic / English)
Also known as "Coldwater", "Sabah on rakastunut!", "Sabah: A Love Story"

Film Description:
"One day, when Sabah least expects it, she falls in love with the wrong man. She's Muslim, he's not. Unbeknownst to her family, she embarks on a whirlwind affair before both culture and love collide."
-- Telefilm Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Ruba Nadda
Produced by: Tracey Boulton, Paul Scherzer, Atom Egoyan, Simone Urdl, Stephen Paniccia
Principal Cast: Arsinée Khanjian, Shawn Doyle, Jeff Seymour, Setta Keshishian, Roula Said, Kathryn Winslow, Fadia Nadda
Cinematography: Luc Montpellier
Film Editing: Teresa Hannigan
Music: Geoff Bennett, Longo Hai, Ben Johannesen
Production Company: T.L. Boulton Productions Ltd.
(sources)

Notes about Sabah

(sources)

Quotes by the Director

"[Arsinée Khanjian has] always played reserved, strong roles. I saw her at a party and loved the way she laughed. When she laughs, she is girlish, and down-to-earth and so uncensored. I wanted to offer her a role where her emotions run rampant. She would portray a 40-year-old who falls in love for the first time -- with no baggage because she has never been betrayed so she can be girlish and funny."
-- Ruba Nadda (source)

"[During the quest to finance Sabah] I hit rock bottom so many times. My 'babies' [short films] were basically used against me because I'd never done anything slick. But a story is a story; and if I can tell a story in one minute, I can do it in ninety. And all throughout the process I was attacked for making Sabah an older woman. 'A forty year-old woman in a bathing suit?' That's so sexist, yet so real. Since making the film, no one has ever mentioned it again."
-- Ruba Nadda (source)

Quote by the Director [in French]

"Il m'a fallu résister aux pressions de certains producteurs qui voulaient que je rajeunisse mon personnage [dans Sabah] pour faire un film plus accrocheur. [...] C'était important d'illustrer la vie d'une femme de 40 ans, soumise depuis longtemps à sa mère malade et à son frère autoritaire. À 20 ans, on peut se rebeller; pour Sabah, ça semble impossible."
-- Ruba Nadda (source)

Quotes about Sabah

"[In her film Sabah], Ruba Nadda was determined to make Toronto look like a city for lovers. In this romance, the dramatic backdrop for that crucial first kiss is the flatiron building at Front and Wellington. Though it's no Eiffel Tower, it works just fine."
-- Jason Anderson (source)

"[In Sabah, Ruba] Nadda saves her directorial coup until two-thirds of the way through the film when Sabah risks everything to save the romance. Long ebony curls finally flowing and hips wrapped in crimson desire, Sabah overcomes her self-consciousness and seduces Stephen with her newly learned belly dance moves. The magic of Nadda's directing is in a reverse angle shot, which reveals only to the audience Sabah's face, giddy with disbelief at her own daring."
-- Noelle Elia (source)

"The point of the film, as I see it, is that the choice with which Sabah was presented is indeed a false one, and that marrying outside the tribe, so to speak, does not have to come at the expense of one's family, nor does it have to warrant ostracization from one's community."
-- Nouri Gana (source)

"Flush with the rush of love, Sabah must now choose between her family and her new boyfriend. [...] Without pushing the issue into absolute black and white values, director and writer Nadda takes a decidedly feminine approach and finds the valuable space between the rock and the hard place. It's called compromise, and in this context, it takes on very female properties as Sabah, her mother and her niece find a way to soften the all-or-nothing approach of the men around them."
-- Katherine Monk (source)

"I've always felt close to the issues the script [for Sabah] embraces. They are issues I grew up with and I'm familiar with, like how do you adjust as a woman in society when you're coming from a completely different value system? How do you balance the sense of the past with the needs of the future? The specifics of the story are different from my life, but the overall issues are very much the same."
-- Arsinée Khanjian (source)

Quote about Sabah [in French]

"Il y un véritable aspect conte de fées dans Sabah, une touche quasi magique dont la réalisatrice [Rubba Nadda] ne renie nullement la forme délicieusement idéalisée."
-- André Lavoie (source)

Bibliography for Sabah

Journal Articles

Newspaper or Magazine Articles

Web Sites about Sabah


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