It has been a year since Nadine Labaki's critically acclaimed masterpiece Capharnaüm was released and it seems to have become synonymous with "success," "unstoppable," and "heart-wrenching."
Labaki's film has amassed titled and awards from within the region and beyond and, as of late, was featured in The Guardian's list of "the 100 best films of the 21st century."
Curated by the British newspaper's top film critics, the list includes artworks that made their mark on the world in the past decades. Coming in at No. 71, Capharnaüm is ranked alongside Academy Award-winning works including The Hurt Locker (92), The Grand Budapest Hotel (27), Roma (20), Moonlight (8), and There Will Be Blood (1).
Last year, the chief film critic of The New York Times, A.O. Scott, ranked the Lebanese film 9th out of the 10 films that moved him in 2018.
Labaki's film tells the story of a child who struggles to survive and sues his family "for giving him life in the first place." He was not registered at birth, as his parents could not afford the fees required to do so. He exists, but not on paper. He has no I.D. card, meaning he is unable to get a passport, attend school, or get medical assistance.
The feature is described as "a highly original and affecting film" on The Guardian's List and well, it certainly is.
Following its release last September, Capharnaüm received international acclamation and earned a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival. Labaki's masterpiece was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards), an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe in the Film in Foreign Language category.
The film wowed audiences and celebrities alike
The film wasn't only a festival circuit favorite, but it also wowed audiences around the world and gained Oprah Winfrey's seal of approval. In January, the American media mogul tweeted out her appreciation of the film and praised the Lebanese director's work. Weeks later, Winfrey invited Labaki and her husband, musical composer and producer Khaled Mouzanar, for lunch at her house.
The TV presenter isn't the only international celebrity to have expressed her love for Labaki's film. Several others including Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Josh Brolin have also praised it. British rock band Coldplay casually recommended the film to their fans on Twitter.
It also catapulted Labaki into international stardom
Capharnaüm's enormous success rendered Labaki one of the region's top film auteurs, putting her on the international forefront. Earlier this year, the Cannes Film Festival - where her movie was premiered - named her the president of its Un Certain Regard jury, making her the first Arab to take on this role.
Her appointment was announced in a statement posted on the festival's official website.
"After moving hearts and minds at the last Festival de Cannes with her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated Capernaum, which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki will be taking over from actor Benicio Del Toro as President of the Un Certain Regard Jury for the 72nd edition of the Festival," the statement read.
The director expressed her joy at being selected to head a jury at the festival's 72nd edition — which took place from May 14 to 25.
"I can't wait to see the films in the Selection. I can't wait to debate and discuss, to be shaken up, to find inspiration in other artists' work," she said at the time.