After Cannes win, Lebanese film Capernaum sets sights on foreign language Oscar

After Cannes win, Lebanese film Capernaum sets sights on foreign language Oscar
2 min read
18 December, 2018
Nadine Labaki's film about a young Syrian refugee in a Lebanese slum is in the running for another prestigious prize.
Nadine Labaki with cast member Zain, receiving the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes [Getty]
Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki's film Capernaum (Capharnaüm) has become one of nine films shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar, ahead of the star-studded ceremony in February.

The film has also been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Golden Globes, it was announced earlier this month. 

The nominations come after Labaki's film won the Jury Prize at Cannes in May, becoming the first Arab film to do so.

Read more: Capharnaüm: Tackling child abuse in Lebanon through film

The film centres around Zain, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee living in a Beirut slum who takes his parents to court for bringing him into the world knowing they can't provide food, safety or even ID papers.

The film earned a 15-minute standing ovation after premiering at Cannes. Labaki was the second female to receive the Palme d'Or, and was one of three women contenders this year.

In her acceptance speech, Labaki paid homage to the film's 12-year-old cast member, who she discovered selling tissues on the street, and who had probably again spent the day with "her face pressed against car windows".

Most of the cast are non-professional actors whom Labaki scouted on the street.

"I really think about them (the cast). I hope the film will enable the voices of these children to be better heard and trigger a debate," Labaki told reporters.

Read more: The plight of Lebanon's working street children

Capernaum is the second Lebanese film to get the Oscars nod, with Ziad Doueiri's The Insult nominated in 2017.