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NEWS/Nadine Labaki’s Luminous Art

Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki is best known for her work in the 2007 film Caramel and the 2011 film Where Do We Go Now? Labaki was chosen amongst a vast selection of skilled directors and filmmakers from across the globe to judge over 30 feature films during the world renown 2014 Tribeca Film Festival in order to decide which director would be worthy of the illustrious award, “Best New Director.” 

Labaki is the recipient of a plethora of awards and nominations due to the dense and worldly material that is covered within her films. Rather than focus the political strife so often touched upon by most films, Labaki aims to portray the Arab peoples in a light, which makes them universally relatable. In a raw, black and white video portrait titled I Am Film, Labaki hopefully states that “We all have to be aware of the power we have to change things in this world...even if it might sound a little bit naive...I believe in this power. I believe you can make things change and make things happen if you believe in it.” She explains how personal her projects are to her, with Where Do We Go Now? being partially inspired by her pregnancy at the time as she wondered what she would do if her son were a teenager during political uprisings, and if she would be able to stop him from running to the streets and joining the riots. 

In a related project, Labaki will be working with Harvey Kietel to direct a collective series of short films entitled Rio, En Tu Amo. According to sources, this film will encompass ten unique stories of love, focusing on the diversity of encounters which are possible between individuals. This film will highlight a variety of characteristics and personalities that all experience the universal feeling of “love.”

In addition to creating groundbreaking films, which have been continually submitted to the Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category, Labaki is also a social activist, working closely with Brave Heart and its campaign aiming to spread awareness regarding congenial heart disease, an illness common among infants. She has been the spokeswoman and poster woman for this organization. Labaki’s Brave Heart posters have been plastered all around the American University of Beirut’s campus, giving this campaign much needed publicity.

Considering Labaki’s impressive platter of works and projects, it’s no wonder why she chosen to be among the panel of judges in the Tribeca Film Festival. One can tell that Labaki will continue to be part of extremely significant projects that bring up current societal issues in the form of beautiful works of art. 

by Jamil Richane

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