As one of the most in-demand faces at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki has had a busy week on the Côte d’Azur, to say the least. Whilst juggling her duties presiding over the festival’s Un Certain Regard category, she stopped off at Kering's Women in Motion event on the Croisette, to give a talk about her own experiences, outlook and hopes for the film industry.
She revealed during the discussion that her next project is a documentary about the making of Capernaum, the Oscar-nominated and Cannes Jury Prize-winning picture. The film has received critical acclaim (famously garnering a 15-minute standing ovation when it was screened at Cannes’ 2018 instalment), attracted support from Hollywood’s biggest names and been a box-office smash hit around the world - most recently in China, where it grossed over $40 million at the box office (over Dhs147 million): an astounding figure that puts it second only to Avengers: Endgame as the most successful foreign film in the nation.
Labaki puts the film’s global success down to the universality of the themes and struggles it depicts - in particular that of child poverty, and it being endemic in countries all over the world. She cites the nature of the film as "not just a fiction".
It’s no secret that the making of Capernaum was a long process - the team researched over three years, filmed for six months, then edited during the following two years, making it an epic five-year journey. She divulged that she’s working on a documentary about the "Capernaum adventure".
"During the shooting process, fiction became reality. Lots of crazy things happened on the shoot with each one of the actors [...] the whole process was so interesting and so intense that we’re making a documentary about the whole thing, following the characters’ stories and what’s going on in their lives right now."
The Lebanese director thinks that although Capernaum has provoked discussion and opened the debate around the issues it explores, there’s still a long way to go in terms of effecting change on a policy level - something she hopes to do before moving on to an entirely new project. "We’re exploring how we can really make a change with a film," she explained.
Labaki also saw success at the Arab Cinema Centre Critics Awards on Saturday - an annual award ceremony, running parallel to Cannes Film Festival, celebrating films with Arab production companies. She won Best Director for her 2018 triumph, whilst Talal Derki’s Oscar-nominated picture Of Fathers and Sons picked up Best Documentary.