‘Why are you attacking your parents in courts?’ This is the beginning of the movie <Capernaum> (2018), which won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Judges praised <Capernaum> for its depiction of the disastrous daily life of an illegal immigrant in Lebanon. So, how was <Capernaum> able to capture the reality of Lebanon? Mainly, it is because Nadine Labaki, the film’s director, is Lebanese. Born in Lebanon in 1974, Labaki had to continue living amidst the chaos of Lebanon’s civil war until 1991.
Nadine Labaki began her career as an actress. By starring in various films, Labaki then became interested in videos, which led her to begin taking the daily life of Lebanon as a film director through her lenses. Labaki’s early works focus on portraying the ordinary life of people, not on the political conflict prevailing in Lebanon at that time. The movie <Caramel> (2006) is one of the representative works showing her focus. The film deals with daily subjects (especially aspects that are not typically portrayed in Arabic culture), like love, sexuality, and the tradition of Lebanese women in comedy. In recognition of its detailed portrayal of the daily life of women, Labaki’s work was premiered at the Director’s Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Although Labaki was influenced by the Lebanese civil war, which took up nearly 17 years of her life, Labaki also filmed the reality of Lebanon, showing how the impacts of the conflict still exist in Lebanese society. In her second feature film, <Where Do We Go Now?> (2010), Labaki points out a negative effect of the religious conflict in Lebanon, describing an event surrounding a mosque and a church in a village. Finally, in her recent work, <Capernaum> (2018), Labaki tries to spotlight the lives of illegal immigrants via the story of an undocumented boy and his family.
Labaki’s method of conveying her films’ message is neither splendid nor magnificent. Nevertheless, many people are overwhelmed by her films because of the weight of the reality just on the other side of the lenses. Her statement that it is her duty to participate in Lebanon's politics in a way that captures the realities of society clearly shows her belief in her films. Finally, through <Capernaum> (2018), Labaki has been a leader for change in the treatment of illegal immigrants, conveying her message across Lebanon and throughout the world. CAH looks forward to another change of Lebanon that she will make through her lenses.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >