×

‘Capernaum’ Director Nadine Labaki Responds to Globes Nomination

Marking the first-ever nod for the Lebanese filmmaker and only the second for her home country, “Capernaum” director Nadine Labaki didn’t have much time to celebrate when she learned of her film’s Golden Globe nomination for foreign-language picture on Thursday.

“I haven’t been able to talk with a lot people because we had interviews all day,” she said from the Marrakech Film Festival, where she is on-hand to present her Cannes award-winning film.

“It’s almost too good to be true,” she told Variety. “At the end of the day it’s a small film that we made ourselves. It’s really homemade, so it’s a big achievement for everyone who worked on the film, and for every actor who was in it.”

“Each one of the actors in the film is not a professional actor; they’re almost playing themselves and giving voice to the voiceless, in a way,” she continued. “They’re representing these invisible communities. The film is trying to convey their voice, to be a vehicle for their voice, so that it resonates louder and louder. Nominations allow this to happen; they allow the problem to be more out there and helps shed the light on this issue, specifically on children’s rights. I hope that issue will have an even larger exposure now.”

Though gratified with her film’s success, Labaki was shocked and troubled to learn that hers was one of only two female-directed films to be nominated in any non-acting category.

“It’s a little bit strange,” she said. “It makes me proud, in a way, but at the same time that’s a big surprise. I mean, how come? There were a lot of amazing films done by women this year.”

From its Cannes berth — where it competed for the Palme d’Or alongside only two other films from female directors, and won the jury prize – onward, “Capernaum” has been released in a year where concerns about the film industry’s gender imbalance have reached a fever pitch.

“It’s very frustrating to see that women are not well-represented,” said Labaki. “But I’m very positive at the same time. Movements like Time’s Up and #MeToo are putting the problems out there and creating conversations about the issues, and that’s really how the healing process starts. Because women are speaking up now, I think we won’t be talking about these issues in a few years. It’s no longer a taboo subject, we’re no longer settling for just being frustrated.”

The filmmaker forcefully responded to her film’s critics, specifically those who contend that the neo-realist tearjerker overemphasizes the hardships facing its young characters.

“I wanted to depict the situation as it really is, and the truth is, it’s far worse than what I showed in the film,” Labaki said. “The people who used phrases like ‘misery porn’ and things like that, should confront a reality that is far harsher than the one shown in the film.”

“Critics’ points of view can be one thing today and be very different in a few years,” she said. “Today, the trend is detachment. Cool reserve is almost the fashion of the day. What does reserve really mean? It means to restrain our emotions, to deprive ourselves of our bodies’ natural responses. For me it’s important to stir the audiences’ emotions, because I want the viewers to want to help these kids. Afterwards, people are perfectly right to criticize the film for what it is and tries to do.”

A popular actress as well, Labaki will soon topline the film “1982.” Set during the 1982 Siege of Beirut, the film will mark the feature directing debut of Lebanese producer Oualid Mouaness, who developed the project at the Sundance Institute.

Though she remains a box-office draw in her native country, the Golden Globe nominee knows where her true passions lie. “I think of myself more as a director than as an actress,” concluded Labaki. “But I do like to perform and express myself in different ways, and I’ll keep on doing so, provided I can find interesting roles.”

More Film

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

  • Lizzo Coachella Valley Music and Arts

    Lizzo Joins Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in Stripper Film 'Hustlers'

    After the release of her third album and a pair of high-profile Coachella performances, Lizzo announced today that she will be joining Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in the stripper-themed film “Hustlers.” Based on a true story, the film focuses on strippers who band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street male [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Marc Malkin The Big Ticket Podcast

    Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast 'The Big Ticket' With Marc Malkin

    Variety and iHeartMedia have announced the premiere of “The Big Ticket,” a new weekly film-focused podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, the magazine’s senior film awards and events & lifestyle editor. The podcast will feature sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s hottest stars and filmmakers talking movies, the business and more. New episodes will be released every Thursday [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content