February 18, 1974 |
Labaki obtained a degree in audiovisual studies at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, directing her graduation film, 11 Rue Pasteur, in 1997, which won the Best Short Film Award at the Biennale of Arab Cinema at the Arab World Institute in Paris. In 1998, she attended a workshop in acting at the Cours Florent in Paris. She went on to direct advertisements and music videos for renowned Middle Eastern singers, for which she won several awards.
As a director
In 2005, Labaki took part in the Cannes Film Festival Residence in order to write Caramel, her first feature film. In 2006, she went on to direct and play one of the lead roles in Caramel, which showcases a Beirut that most people are not familiar with. Rather than tackle political issues which have plagued Lebanon, she presents a comedy that deals with five Lebanese women who live in Beirut and gather at a beauty salon and deal with issues related to love, sexuality, tradition, disappointment, and everyday ups and downs. The film premiered at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and was a commercial success in the summer of that same year. It sold worldwide and collected important prizes at many festivals around the world, garnering Labaki much acclaim both as a director and actress, and putting her on Variety's 10 Directors to Watch List at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2008 the French Ministry of Culture and Communication gave her the insignia of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.
In 2010, Labaki directed and starred in her second feature film, Where Do We Go Now?, which tackles with humor a delicate subject about a village in which church and mosque stand side by side, and in which women try to keep their blowhard men from starting a religious war. The film also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the "Un Certain Regard" category in 2011. It was an international success and won the Cadillac people’s choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. It also collected many other awards in festivals around the world, like Cannes Film Festival, San Sebastián International Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival. The film was also nominated for best foreign film at the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles.
As an actress
As an actor, Labaki starred in Stray Bullet directed by Georges Hachem in 2010. She will appear in the Moroccan production Rock The Casbah directed by Laila Marrakchi alongside actors Hiam Abbas and Lubna Azabal.
As a director
- Caramel or Sukkar Banat. Premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. (See Caramel for a list of awards and nominations).
- Where Do We Go Now? released and premiered as part of the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. (See Where Do We Go Now? for a list of awards and nominations).
- Rio, I Love You segment: O Milagre 
As an actress
- Ramad (Ashes) - a short film by Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (2003)
- The Seventh Dog - a short film by Zeina Durra
- Non métrage Libanais (2003) - a short film by Wissam Smayra; plays Nina
- Bosta - a long feature by Philippe Aractingi; plays Alia
- Caramel or Sukkar Banat (2007) - plays Layale
- Stray Bullet (2010) - plays Noha
- Al Abb Wal Gharib (The Father And The Foreigner) (2010) by Ricky Tognazzi
- Where Do We Go Now? (2011) - plays Amale
- Rock The Casbah (2013)
- Mea Culpa (2014)
- Rio, I Love You (2014) - plays herself
- La Rançon de la gloire (2014)
- "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
- "‘Rio, I Love You’ Omnibus Unveils Directors, Cast and First Images". The Film State. November 12, 2013.