Cannes Film Fest 2018: Capernaum–How Lebanese Director Nadine Labaki Made her Timely Film

Nadine Labaki is the Lebanese director of the Oscar-nominated Capernaum, released by Sony Classics.

After two narrative films, Labaki pushed herself in a new direction with Capernaum, casting only non-actors and shooting chronologically.

The film centers on a Lebanese boy accused of a violent crime after his 11-year-old sister is sold into marriage.

“After seeing thousands of children on the street, suffering, this film felt like a responsibility for me, a duty,” Labaki says.

Director Nadine Labaki at Women in Film at Variety 10 to Watch at Stein Erickson on January 21, 2008 in Park City, Utah.
2008 Park City – Women in Film at Variety Top 10 Directors to Watch
Stein Eriksen Lodge
Park City, UT United States
January 21, 2008
Photo by Soren McCarty/
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“It’s about real struggles, and I needed to work with those who are having that struggle — and not impose my imagination. I’m not entitled to imagine a story, with an actor who would ‘become’ someone else.

“From the beginning, we all knew it was a challenge, but I was very confident this is the way to do it.”

It took four years of research, and six months to film, as they accommodated the first-time performers and sometimes did up to 40 takes.

Labaki and her team kept rewriting the script, “to adapt to their personality, their rhythm, to navigate reality to this fiction.”