Putting Arab cinema firmly on the map

Lebanon has selected Capharnaum as its entry for the best foreign-language film at the Oscars.

The film is directed by Nadine Labaki, the woman behind critically acclaimed film Caramel.


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It follows the story of 12 year-old Zein, who tries to survive on the streets of Beirut by begging and stealing.

He sues his parents to court for bringing him into a world of suffering. Most of the cast features non-professional actors, some of whom are genuine street children Labaki met in Beirut during the two years she spent researching the film.

It was written by Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Kesrouani, Georges Khabbaz and Labaki’s husband, Khaled Mouzanar. Mouzanar also produced the film and composed the music.

The film first premiered at Cannes International film festival and won the prestigious Jury prize.

Last year’s Oscar entry from Lebanon, Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult”, was the first ever Lebanese film to be nominated at the Academy Awards.

Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine and Turkey from the MENA region have all entered the Foreign Language race.

This marks another achievement for the Beirut-born director and actress. In April, Nadine became the first Arab filmmaker in history to win the Palme d’Or, one of the film industry’s top honours.

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Main image: Getty