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Nadine Labaki’s ‘Capernaum’ Selected by Lebanon for Foreign-Language Oscar Race

Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” the winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, has been selected by Lebanon as its candidate for the upcoming foreign-language Oscar race.

Capernaum,” which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics ahead of its world premiere at Cannes, features mostly non-professional actors and tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, Zein, who takes his parents to court “for giving me life” in a world of pain and suffering.

“Capernaum” was written by Labaki, along with Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Kesrouani, Georges Khabbaz and Labaki’s husband, Khaled Mouzanar, who also produced the film and composed the music. The movie opens in Lebanon on Thursday. Sony Pictures Classics will release it in the U.S. on Dec. 14. SPC had previously handled “Where Do We Go Now?”, Labaki’s 2011 film.

In its review, Variety said “Capernaum” tackled its subject matter “with intelligence and heart,” and called Labaki “an astonishingly accomplished director of non-professional performers, as well as a measured storyteller.”

Last year’s Oscar entry from Lebanon, Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult,” earned a nomination.

Other recent submissions for the foreign-language Oscar category include Carlos Diegues’ “The Great Mystical Circus,” a drama based on a 1938 poem by Jorge de Lima, which stars Vincent Cassel, from Brazil; Janez Burger’s “Ivan” from Slovenia; Ilian Djevelekov’s “Omnipresent” from Bulgaria; Yasmine Chouikh’s romantic drama “Until the End of Time” from Algeria; and Vahid Jalilvand’s Venice 2017 award-winning film “No Date, No Signature” from Iran.

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