Capernaum

Capernaum

Nadine Labaki (2018)

126min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Ripped from reality but suffused with compassionate humanity, Nadine Labaki's third feature represents a marked departure from the witty feminism of Caramel (2007) and Where Do We Go Now? (2011). Largely improvised over six months and taking its original title (Capharnaum) from an antiquated word meaning "a shambles", this Oscar-nominated drama exposes the plight facing Lebanon's undocumented children. Labaki adopts an unflinching neorealist attitude to chronicle the problems that beset tweenager Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) after he runs away from home when his parents sell his 11-year-old sister to the Beirut landlord keeping them in grinding poverty. Having fled to the coast, Zain finds temporary respite with an Ethiopian illegal and her toddler son (who is marvellously played by a girl, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole). But events conspire against him and Zain winds up in court suing his parents for having given birth to him. Labaki's direction of her young leads is miraculous, while the handheld cinematography and electrifying editing convey the chaos of the milieu and the grimness of the global crisis that has precipitated it.

Cast & Crew

Zain Zain Al Rafeea
Rahil Yordanos Shiferaw
Yonas Boluwatife Treasure Bankole
Souad, the mother Kawsar Al Haddad
Selim, the father Fadi Kamel Yousef
Sahar, the sister Haita "Cedra" Izzam
Aspro Alaa Chouchnieh
The judge Elias Khoury
Nadine Nadine Labaki
Assaad Nour El Husseini
Director Nadine Labaki
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Other Information

Language: Arabic, Amharic +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: PicturehouseGuidance: Swearing, drug abuseAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 22 Feb 2019