Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki joins Cannes Film Festival jury

Ati Metwaly , Monday 29 Apr 2024

Renowned Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki will join the nine-member strong panel of the 77th Cannes Film Festival jury (14-25 May).

Nadine Labaki
Nadine Labaki (Photo: AFP)


Members of the jury, chaired by American actress and director Greta Gerwig, include Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona, Turkish filmmaker Ebru Ceylan, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, American actress Lily Gladstone, French actress Eva Green, French actor Omar Sy, and Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda.

Labaki, 50, one of Lebanon's most prominent filmmakers, returns to the Cannes jury, following her presidency of the Un Certain Regard jury in 2019.

Labaki began her career as an actress in the early 2000s and within two decades took fast turns.

She started direction in the mid-2000s, presenting several highly successful titles, which created important imprints at Cannes and scored numerous awards at many international festivals.

Caramel, her 2007 debut film that she wrote, directed, and starred in, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for Golden Camera and the CICAE Award.

The film then won numerous international awards and countless nominations, including three wins at the San Sebastián International Film Festival (Sebastian Award, Youth Jury Award, and Audience Award).

Caramel, as its synopsis reveals, is "a romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut." 

The variety critic wrote that it is a "sweet affair, hiding any bitter undertones under a sprightly, glistening exterior," adding that the film addresses some issues facing Lebanese women "from extramarital affairs to religious dictates." 

She then returned to Cannes with Where Do We Go Now? (2011) where it vied for the Un Certain Regard Award, winning the François Chalais Award and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention.

Labaki starred in the film, wrote its screenplay, and directed it.

The film also focuses on the Lebanese community, looking at women navigating between and appeasing the religious tensions among Christians and Muslims in their village.

Labaki, the film's director and screenwriter, scored numerous awards at international festivals, including the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, following its success at Cannes.

Seven years later, Labaki wrote and directed another film, Capernaum (2018), which made its way to the Official Selection competing for Palme d'Or. 

Capernaum follows the travails of Zain, a malnourished Syrian boy who runs away from his family when his 11-year-old sister Sahar is sold into marriage. It is a story of poverty and survival in Beirut's underclass circles.

The film won the Prix de la Citoyenneté, the Ecumenical Jury Prize, and the Jury Prize, receiving a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere on 17 May 2018 at the festival.

It also won over 20 awards at numerous international festivals and was nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 2019 BAFTA Film Awards. 

Capernaum, a Lebanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards (2019), was nominated but did not win an Oscar.

It was one of the only two Lebanese films ever to be nominated for Academy Awards, with the other being Ziad Doueiri's The Insult, nominated for an Oscar in 2017.

Labaki is one of the two Arab filmmakers on the 77th Cannes Film Festival jury panels.

Moroccan filmmaker and producer Asmae El Moudir is on the jury panel of Un Certain Regard.

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