The Caramel director took away the Jury Prize for her latest film, Caphernaum.

She’s one of the leading lights of cinema in our part of the world, and now, Nadine Labaki has been recognised on an international stage.

The Lebanese director has won the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize for her third feature, a drama called Caphernaum.

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Labaki was a favourite for the Palme d’Or, France 24 reports, which has only been won by a woman once. New Zealand director Jane Campion took it out for The Piano in 1993.

Instead, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters got that honour, with Labaki’s film in third place behind Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

Caphernaum explores the slums of Beirut through the eyes of a young boy, Zain, who goes on to sue his parents for bringing him into the world.

It received a 15-minute standing ovation on its premiere, France 24 reports.

nadine labaki

The film’s subject matter reflects Labaki’s frustrations with the modern world, she told the site.

“I’m thinking of the notion of borders, of having to have papers to exist – of being completely excluded from the system if you don’t have them – of the maltreatment of children, modern slavery, immigrant workers, Syrian immigrants – all these issues where people find themselves completely excluded from the system because it is not capable of finding solutions,” she said.

“Cinema is not only about making people dream… It’s about changing things and making people think.”

Caphernaum is an intensely researched film—Labaki spent more than three years working on it.

With early reviews praising Labaki’s skill and the film’s intelligence and heart, we can’t wait to see it.

Labaki’s previous two features are Caramel and Where Do We Go Now?

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Images: Getty