Screenwriter, actress and producer, Nibal Arakji is a multitalented artist. She spent her first 25 years in the city of lights that she left after getting her masters degree and then went back to her homeland, Lebanon, where her acting career began. She devoted herself to writing movie scripts and was quickly discovered after her first movie appearance in "Ossit Sawani". Her adventure in the film industry didn't stop there because Nibal made the choice to play roles in the movies she writes.
You wanted to be an actress or writer when you were a child?
As a child, I loved to write. For me, writing is a kind of therapy, a release, a way to transpose emotions on paper. When it comes to acting, I've always loved playing roles; I attended the Florent classes in Paris for a while. But if I had to choose between writing and acting, I would choose to write. On the other hand, I like to be in movies when the roles interest me.
When you wrote "Yalla Aa'belkon: Single, Married, Divorced", did you already know that you would do a diptych?
When I wrote "Yalla Aa'belkon" I did not have in mind the idea of a sequel. Following the success of the movie, several people told me that they would like me to recreate the same film but through the eyes of men. I thought about it and thought that the idea might be interesting.
In 2006 you published the bestseller "Men are bastards and women aren't better". When will there be a second book?
I have a lot of projects in mind right now, so the idea of writing a new book is put aside for now. In fact, I was the first to be surprised by the success of my book, which remained number one in Virgin sales for about four months! These are true stories of relationships between men and women and their evolution over time, stories that reach readers because they can easily be recognized, at least in certain situations.
Any future plans?
I'm shooting my next film in April, which will be called "Wanted - Matloubin". It's a very touching comedy that follows the story of four seniors in retirement homes who decide to flee to help a third person. I wanted to talk about the problematic position of seniors who are in retirement homes because taking care of them requires the time that their children are no longer willing to give. It remains nevertheless a comedy which treats the subject with a lot of humor and lightness.
Your favorite director?
I don't really have a favorite director, but if I had to choose, I would say director/producer Alejandro González Iñárritu with Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel. In general, the whole of a movie (the scenario, the actors) is the essence of what I like. I really appreciate Legends of the Fall and Scent of a Woman in that sense.
For the rest of the interview, check out our February 2018 issue.