Canadian filmmaker Ruba Nadda is known for weaving beautiful love stories. Her breakout movie from 2009 was the epic Egyptian love affair, Cairo Time.
Three years later, she is at TIFF with yet another love story, with the same male lead (Alexander Siddig). But Inescapable seems completely different at first glance. It’s the story of an Arab-Canadian man who travels back to Syria to save his journalist daughter after she is kidnapped by the government. But even in an action thriller, Nadda finds a powerful story about loyalty and love, this time within the context of a family.
“It’s a very simple, personal story,” she said on the red carpet outside of Roy Thomson Hall. “It’s about love of child. Just how far a parent would go. It’s also about past love.”
The past love is acted out by Siddig (that’s Dr. Bashir, for all you Trekkies out there) and Marisa Tomei, who had to transform herself into a Syrian for the role.
“I really relied on Ruba, who is Syrian, and I read a lot of Syrian poetry,” the actress said of her preparation to play an Arab woman.
That wasn’t the only preparation she had to do. Much of the past story between Tomei and Siddig is left unsaid in the movie, happening before the film’s starting point.
“Alexander and I had to create a lot of backstory together since our characters were supposed to be young and in love – we had been engaged,” she explained.
It’s this aspect of trying to rekindle old loves and love of a homeland that Nadda is hoping resonates with a Canadian audience.
“You know, so many immigrants come to Canada and leave past loved ones behind,” she said.
In that sense – plus the casting of Canadian hunk Joshua Jackson amongst the racially diverse cast – there is something quintessentially Canadian about this Middle Eastern film.