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Whatever Lola Wants is a 2007 French-Canadian romantic drama film directed by Nabil Ayouch.[1] The film had its world premiere on December 11, 2007 at the Dubai International Film Festival and stars Laura Ramsey as an American postal worker who travels to Egypt to seek out a legendary belly dancer.[2][3]

Whatever Lola Wants
Whatever Lola Wants (film).jpg
Directed byNabil Ayouch
Produced byJake Eberts
Written by
  • Nabil Ayouch
  • Jane Hawksley
  • Nathalie Saugeon
Music byKrishna Levy
CinematographyVincent Mathias
Edited byHervé de Luze
  • The 7th Floor
  • Ali'n Productions
  • B.C. Films
  • Pathé
Distributed byPathé Distribution
Release date
Running time
115 minutes
  • Canada
  • France
  • English
  • Arabic
Budget$8,000,000 (apx)

In his book Film in the Middle East and North Africa Josef Gugler commented that at the time of its release, the film had a larger budget than any previous Moroccan film and was one of the highest grossing Moroccan films for 2008.[4]


Lola (Laura Ramsey) is a female postal worker that dreams of becoming an oriental dancer. After a friend encourages her to perform at a local restaurant, Lola captures the attentions of the handsome Zack (Assaad Bouab). Lola follows after him, but is crushed to find that Zack is to marry someone of his family's choosing. Lola decides to turn all of her energy into making her dreams a reality and tracks down Ismahan (Carmen Lebbos), a reclusive dancing star that retired due to a scandal involving a mysterious lover. Although reluctant, Ismahan is persuaded into giving Lola lessons and a friendship blossoms as a result. In no time Lola becomes a professional level dancer and attracts the interest of Nasser Radi (Hichem Rostom), a famous impresario. He takes her under his wing and under his tutelage Lola gets to dance at the prestigious Nile Tower. During this time Lola discovers that Nasser was Ismahan's lover and that the two were kept apart because of social conventions but also because of their own pride. As Lola's career takes off, she manages to help reunite the two former lovers before returning to New York in order to take the art she loves to her fellow Americans.



Critical reception for Whatever Lola Wants has been mixed,[5][6] and Variety wrote that "despite a considerable number of cringe-inducing moments early on, the sheer brio of the heroine's cross-cultural antics will win over auds by the end."[7] The Screen Daily wrote a mixed review, stating "Shot brightly in artsy-melodrama mode and garnished with an Arab-fusion soundtrack by Krishna Levy and TransGlobal Underground, Whatever Lola Wants is a polished film, but in the end it never really decides whether it wants to be a prettily packaged star-is-born tale or an all-guns-blazing social critique."[8] The Hollywood Reporter was also mixed, stating that while the film's music and dancing was a highlight, it ultimately "fails to engage".[9]


On December 11, 2007, the film premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in the United Arab Emirates. It screened in France and Norway the following year, in South Korea in 2009, and in Taiwan in 2010. Its television premiere was on HBO Hungary in 2011 as Amit csak Lola akar.

In 2009, it had DVD premieres in France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland.


  1. ^ Benmehdi, Hassan. "Whatever Lola Wants: Ayouch film stresses East-West cultural dialogue". Magharebia. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  2. ^ Orlando, Valerie (2011). Screening Morocco: Contemporary Depictions in Film of a Changing Society. Ohio University Press. pp. 35, 38, 40–45. ISBN 0896802817. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  3. ^ Masters, Charles. "Belly-dancing actress suffers for her craft". Reuters/Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  4. ^ Gugler, Josef (2011). Film in the Middle East and North Africa: Creative Dissidence. University of Texas Press. p. 331. ISBN 9780292723276. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  5. ^ Quilty, Jim (December 29, 2007). "When the flavor of cheese is just what you want". The Daily Star (subscription required). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  6. ^ Terry, Samantha. "Whatever Lola Wants (review)". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  7. ^ Simon, Alissa (January 8, 2008). "Whatever Lola Wants.(Movie review)". Variety (subscription required). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  8. ^ Marshall, Lee. "Whatever Lola Wants (review)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  9. ^ Bhaskaran, Gautaman. "Whatever Lola Wants (review)". THR. Retrieved 13 July 2014.

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