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‘Caramel’ screens at Cannes

Director Labaki expresses fears

CANNES — A bomb near Beirut’s ABC cinema killed an elderly and left a dozen others injured about the time Lebanese helmer Nadine Labaki was receiving a rapturous ovation in Cannes on Sunday following the preem of her debut “Caramel” in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar. The bombing came only hours after the country witnessed its most violent fighting in 17 years with over 50 people left dead after clashes between the Lebanese army and Islamic militants. Monday was, ironically enough, Lebanon day at the festival’s Cinemas du Monde section. The intended day of celebration instead became a time or worry and disappointment for attending Lebanese delegates.

“When I learned about what had happened, it was completely surreal,” said Labaki. “We were supposed to be celebrating a film about life and hope but you don’t know now how or what to think.”

Her sentiments were matched by her compatriots. Extra irony came from fact that two Beirut bombs went off in February during the Berlin film fest.

“I kept remembering Berlin when I heard about it,” said film org Beirut D.C. topper Hania Mroue. “At least this time there are so many Lebanese around, it feels like a small piece of the country is in Cannes.”

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