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Lebanese director’s film scores a BAFTA nomination

Nadine Labaki, and the cast of her film Capharnaüm at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018 [Wikipedia]
Nadine Labaki, and the cast of her film Capharnaüm at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018 [Wikipedia]

Congratulations are in order for Nadine Labaki. It’s been announced that the Lebanese director’s Capharnaüm is up for another prestigious award. The politically-charged film, which already took home the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize, has just been nominated for the Best Film Not in the English Language at the 2019 BAFTA Awards, set to take place on February 10, 2019.

Capharnaüm will compete against films including Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Shoplifters, Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War, and Marcello Fonte’s Dogman.

“And another one!” wrote Labaki on Instagram. “We’re extremely proud to announce that #Capharnaum is nominated for a @BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for such an immense honor.” The nomination marks Labaki’s first-ever nod for a BAFTA Award. It’s also Lebanon’s first nomination. In fact, Labaki is the third Arab director to ever be recognized at the annual BAFTA ceremony, alongside Morocco’s Ismaël Ferroukhi who earned a nomination for Le Grand Voyage in 2005, and Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour, who received a nod for Wadjda in 2013.

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Capharnaüm tells the story of a neglected 12-year-old boy in Beirut, who takes his parents to court for giving him life in a world of pain and suffering. It received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere at Cannes in May. Labaki, who made her directorial debut with 2007’s critically acclaimed Caramel (in which she also played the lead role), is also hotly tipped to enter the Oscars race with Capharnaüm, with nominations set to be announced on January 22.

“Making movies is what I’m good at,” the director told Vogue Arabia during her cover interview this October. “Cinema is the means through which I can best express myself. I use it to limit the effects of the destruction all around us and to assume my responsibility as a member of this society but also as an artist. I believe equally in the importance of the artist’s commitment to defend her society’s causes as I believe in cinema’s ability to effect change.”

The politically-charged film has so far received nominations for the Golden Globe Awards (it lost to Roma) and the Critics’ Choice Awards, set to take place on Sunday, January 13, 2019.

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