Lebanese director Nadine Labaki has been appointed as the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury at the Cannes International Film Festival, in its 2019 edition.
Nadine Labaki’s three feature films catapulted her to international fame, from the Cannes’ red carpet to the Oscars ceremony a few months ago.
The director, actress and screenwriter’s career was first launched in Cannes, and it is there that all her films have been unveiled.
“I remember back when I used to come to Cannes as a film student, I was so excited to experience the world’s most prestigious festival,” she told the festival.
Adding that, “Back then, it seemed so out of reach to me. I remember getting up early in the morning and the endless queues to get a ticket. It seems like yesterday, but it was fifteen years ago that I filled in the Cannes Film Festival’ Cinéfondation registration form, my heart full of hope and my hand shaking.”
In 2018, Nadine Labaki was selected for Competition with her powerfully moving Capernaum, a poignant manifesto on damaged childhood, refugees and the cracks in a society which turns its back on humanity.
The film, at the time, sent shockwaves around the Croisette. Nadine Labaki won the Jury Prize, that year chaired by Cate Blanchett, and gave an unforgettable speech accompanied by young actor and Syrian refugee, Zain Al Rafeea.
Nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Capernaum made its Lebanese director the first woman from the Arabic-speaking world to be nominated in this category.
Capharnaüm tells the story of a boy who files a lawsuit against his parents for bringing him to the world, while they cannot afford to take good care of him.
The film stars Labaki, along with Zain Al Rafeea, Fadi Yousef, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawthar Al Haddad, and Yordanos Shiferaw.
“Today, I am the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury, which just goes to show that sometimes life can be even better than your dreams. I can’t wait to see the films in the selection. I can’t wait to debate and discuss, to be shaken up, to find inspiration in other artists’ work,” Labaki added.
After graduating a degree in audiovisual studies from the University of Beirut, she directed adverts and music videos that frequently won awards.
In 2004, she embarked on Cannes Festival Cinéfondation Residency to write and develop Caramel, her first feature film, shot two years later and showcased at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2007. This joyous, rebellious ode to female camaraderie was distributed worldwide and became the most successful Lebanese film export of all time.
Afterwards, Nadine Labaki continued to explore the female condition and religious tensions in its film, Where Do We Go Now?, a bold, universal fable on tolerance that premiered at Un Certain Regard in 2011.
The Un Certain Regard screenings will kick off on May 15 with an introduction of the Jury in the evening, a day after the opening of the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 14.