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Zain al-Rafeea, the hero of “Caphernaüm”, on the road to success

The young Zain al-Rafeea, the main actor in Nadine Labaki’s film that won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2018, will make his debut in…. Hollywood!

This is a radical change in life for the young man. A Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, he caught the director’s eye among more than 300 contenders before delivering a remarkable performance in the film “Caphernaüm” by Nadine Labaki, which made him and the Lebanese director spokespersons for the forgotten in Lebanese society.

Dazzling rise

After the success of Labaki’s film, both financial – $65 million in box office receipts, for $4 million in production costs – and academic – an Oscar nomination in the category of best foreign film and an award in Cannes, the young Zain al-Rafeea, was to expect to be asked. Not sure, however, that he expected to enter the big league so quickly, with a role offer in Hollywood.

Because that is where his destiny seems to lead him. Director Chloé Zhao, who is currently working on the next opus of the Marvel film universe, Eternals, which is due to be released in 2020, called on him, through the director, still close to the family of the young man who is now living in Norway.


In the film, the young actor, who has already started shooting, will give the replica to big worldwide stars such as Salma Hayek or Angelina Jolie. Not bad, at only fifteen years old…

See also

Nadine Labaki: “Arab cinema has a lot to say”

Published on 29 November 2019