Run time: 126 mins
In a year of exceptional foreign-language films (Cold War, Shoplifters, and Burning and more to come) Capernaum might get lost in the shuffle, but don’t let it; this heartbreaking film has an undeniable emotional pull.
Zain (Zain Alrafeea) is a 12-year-old boy in Beirut, deeply embittered by his poverty, by his parents’ failure to protect him from it and by the humiliatingly ineffective accommodations they have made to get money. They have effectively sold his beloved 11-year-old sister Samar (Cedra Izam) in marriage to their landlord’s creepy son. An arrangement that is bound to have consequences… Now arrested and incarcerated in Lebanon’s notorious Roumieh prison, Zain is launching a lawsuit against his parents, suing them for being born…!! This is a legal stunt apparently encouraged by a Current Affairs show on local television as a way of publicising the suffering of child poverty.
Nadine Labaki’s (Caramel) sensational drama, turns the plight into a social-realist blockbuster (Slumdog Millionaire is an obvious point of comparison). Fired by furious compassion and teeming with sorrow, yet strewn with diamond-shards of beauty, wit and hope, Capernaum is one you must see. (research Jack Whiting) Nadine Labaki’s fabulous Caramel is back at the Rex in April/May. Don’t miss either.