Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cannes: Real 15 Minute Standing O for Lebanese Film, “Capharanaum” Could Mean Trouble for Spike Lee in Year of Woman


Last night in the Palais, at last a real 15 minuteĀ  standing ovation and genuine love for a film– Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” in the tradition of movies like “Lion” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

This could mean trouble for Spike Lee, whose “Blackkklansman” was the only other big hit of the festival in competition. This year’s theme is the Year of the Woman, and Cate Blanchett is in charge, with Ava Duvernay and Kristen Stewart all looking for a reason to award a female director on Saturday.

How will Lee and Labaki divvy up the prizes? Now we have a real horse race.

The audience last night was euphoric when “Capharnaum” ended, and rightly so. Sony Pictures Classics could have a best foreign language film in their hands, and maybe a Best Picture nominee– it’s that good.

The story focuses on 12 year old boy and a toddler who are on the run in the Beirut slums. The boy has run away from his negligent parents and is now suing them for emancipation. In flashbacks we see what happened when he left. It sound simple enough, but “Capharnaum” is exceptional, also recalling “City of God.” No smart movie goer in the world will want to miss this.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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