Lebanese film director Nadine Labaki made history as the first Arab woman to win a prestigious prize during the Cannes Film Festival in France.
She won the ‘Jury Prize’ for her ‘Capernaum‘ film, which follows the story of a destitute Beirut boy who files a lawsuit against his parents for raising him into a life of pain and suffering.
The director is also the second Arab woman to be in the running for the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes festival. The first Arab woman in the running was Lebanese filmmaker Heiny Srour in 1974.
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or for his film ‘Shoplifters.’
Labaki received a 15-minute standing ovation at the premiere of ‘Capernaum’ at Cannes. She told Agence France Presse that she feels strongly about the political and social messages in the film.
“I’m thinking of the notion of borders, of having to have papers to exist, of being completely excluded from the system if you don’t have them,” Labaki said. “(I’m thinking) of the maltreatment of children, modern slavery, immigrant workers, Syrian immigrants — all these issues where people find themselves completely excluded from the system because it is not capable of finding solutions.”