With her jury award at the Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki's "Capernaum" story, and with her current Golden Globes nodded for best foreign language films, is the film on the way to mark further milestones.
"Capernaum" is on Oscar's shortlist for foreign language film, with nominations being unveiled on January 23rd. The Globes ceremony will be January 6, and Globes nom is the second ever for the director's homeland of Lebanon. Labaki is also the only woman director in the foreign film category. And it's all men in the Globes' best-director race, meaning that Labaki has a remarkable (but lonely) distinction.
"I have this kind of pride as a women's director among all these wonderful filmmakers," she said. "But of course it is this second surprise when you feel that you are the only one, when I know there are so many women who make movies that are so interesting and so important out there."
Although grateful for the recognition, Labaki emphasized the importance of recognizing several female directors. "You see the woman behind it. You see a different view of the world, and you see different emotions," she said of women's direct films. "I think it's very healthy."
"Capernaum", distributed by Sony Classics, follows a young boy who puts his parents over his birth; production was on a relatively small budget and a largely inexperienced cast of non-professional players. Labaki said she knew she was working on something special.
"Sometimes you have this instinct that what you do is really on the right track and you have this instinct that what happens in front of your eyes has some meaning," she said. "We felt we were not just making a movie, there was something beyond that. It was something bigger than us, and life in a way disturbed the image we wrote."
Labak's instinct was also transferred to the film-making process. As a mother, she said she felt a visceral relationship with many of the movie's female characters, especially in ways they interacted with their children, or expressed their views on the world. And although the characters were also quite different in other ways, she said it was important that she be able to help enrich the movie by incorporating her own experience as a woman.
"There are codes that we understand as women, and that we pick up and we understand, and we reflect unconsciously," she said. "I think sometimes it's very instinctive, and it's very subconscious. It's a secret code between women, and we understand each other. We really don't need to talk."