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Nadine Labaki’s ‘Capernaum’ Earns Massive Cannes Standing Ovation and Instant Palme d’Or Winner Predictions

First reactions to Labaki's movie call it "sensational," "devastating," and a major favorite to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes this Saturday.

Khaled Mouzanar, director Nadine Labaki, Zain Alrafeea, Yordanos ShiferaCapharnaum Premiere - 71st Cannes Film Festival, France - 17 May 2018

Khaled Mouzanar, director Nadine Labaki, Zain Alrafeea, Yordanos Shifera

CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

With only a couple days left before the Cannes jury announces this year’s prizewinners, the festival may have saved the biggest Palme d’Or contender for the end. “Capernaum,” the new drama from Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, earned a massive 15-minute standing ovation following its May 17 premiere at the festival, according to the glowing first reactions. Numerous members of the press reacted strongly to the film on Twitter following the screening, with many predicting “Capernaum” walks home with the Palme d’Or.

“Capernaum” is billed as a “politically-charged fable” that follows a child who sues his own family. The movie is notable for being one of only three films directed by women to compete for the Palme d’Or at this year’s festival. If Labaki ends up winning Cannes’ top honor on Saturday, she will become only the second female director to win the prize following Jane Campion for “The Piano.” Actresses Lea Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos shared the Palme d’or with director Abdellatif Kechiche for “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”

Sony Pictures Classics purchased North American and Latin American distribution rights to “Capernaum” early in the festival before the film screened, an early sign of confidence for the drama. The deal was estimated to cost $1.3 million. The distributor is expected to campaign the movie for next year’s best foreign language Oscar.

Labaki is a Cannes regular, but “Capernaum” is the first time she’s competed for the Palme d’Or. The filmmaker was part of Directors’ Fortnight in 2007 with “Caramel” and premiered “Where Do We Go Now?” in the Un Certain Regard section in 2011. The latter received an Ecumenical Special Mentions prize.

Check out first reactions to “Capernaum” below.

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