I’ve seen so many women in my family, so many mothers, that have lost children in the war in such absurd ways. I wonder how they do it. How do they keep living? How do they keep smiling? How do they put on their clothes on in the morning and survive? I don’t want to be (God forbid) in that situation. Nobody wants to be in that situation anymore. We just want to live a normal life.
I need to say we’ve had enough. I don’t know if will change anything, but at least I know I tried. I’m sharing this responsibility. I can’t do politics, so I’m doing politics in my own way.
Labaki obtained a degree in audiovisual studies at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon directing her graduation film, 11 Rue Pasteur, which won the Best Short Film Award at the Biennale of Arab Cinema at the Arab World Institute in Paris. After, she began to direct advertisements and music videos for renowned Middle Eastern artists, winning her several awards. In 2005, Labaki wrote her first feature film, Caramel. In 2006, she went on to direct and play one the lead roles in this film centered in the beautiful city of Beirut. Rather than focus on the social and political turmoil of the city and nation, Labaki chooses to highlight women as the film beautifully and lightheartedly deals with issues of love, friendship, sexuality, tradition, and everyday struggles. The film premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and became a commercial success. Labaki was awarded many important prizes at film festivals around the world, and placed her on Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch List at the Sundance Film Festival.
Labaki has received commercial success and worldwide acclaim for her strong female characters and roles and she uses her talent as an opportunity to creatively and critically examine women’s lives, society, and politics in the Arab world along with more universal elements of human nature and human relations. No matter which side of the camera Labaki is on, her work and her vision are captivating and relatable. The social, cultural, and political dimensions of her films along with her strong female casts give her roles and productions meaning and a platform for females to express themselves. We are proud of the contributions Labaki has made and will continue to make and look forward to see what is next for this empowering actress and director.
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