Artists should get more involved in politics, in order to offer alternative points of views, as “our systems are a huge failure”, Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki said in an exclusive interview with this month’s Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.
“Artists have a very important role to play in the future and how the world will evolve. And I think we need to be more involved politically because art is really one of the only ways to change political perspectives. It needs alternative thinking to progress in the right way, so I think it’s our duty as artists to be involved in the way the world is going,” she told the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.
“It has to be defined in a different way for me, because we’ve been so failed by politicians. Not just in Lebanon, but the entire world. The examples we have are not ones we can be proud of.”
When asked about the relationship between power, art and politics, Nadine replied: “Who decides who’s powerful and who’s not powerful? And what does it mean to be powerful? I don’t take it very seriously, but at the same time, it’s a responsibility if people consider me powerful. If I’m able to change your perspective in a positive way, or create a connection with something I’m doing that will influence your decision – that’s power.”
The 45 year-old director and actress has starred in 15 movies, directed two world-renowned epics and has been nominated for and/or won 56 awards.
She rose to international acclaim for her 2018 film Capernaum, which tells the story of a 12-year-old living in the slums of Beirut. The film is considered the highest-grossing Arabic film and highest-grossing Middle Eastern film of all time, won the Jury’s Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
Labaki has been involved directly in politics herself and in 2016 was a candidate for Beirut Madinati (Beirut Is My City), a non-partisan political group in Lebanon, in the city’s local elections.
While she was not elected, she told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia she prefers to express her political views through her creative work.
“When you know how we’re dealing with children’s rights, women’s rights, migrant’s rights – I mean – our systems are a huge failure, and the human isn’t respected enough right now.
“I don’t think I’m built to handle the pressure [of politics] or bad faith. That’s why I’ve decided to do politics my own way, through my art and cinema. It’s a different way of approaching it.”