(2018) 125 mins
Director: Nadine Labaki
Writers: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily
Cinematography: Christopher Aoun
Production Design: Hussein Baydoun
Music: Khaled Mouzanar
Capernaüm (“Chaos”) tells the story of Zain (Zain al-Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. The film follows Zain as he journeys from gutsy, streetwise child to hardened 12-year-old “adult” fleeing his negligent parents, surviving through his wits on the streets, where he meets Ethiopian migrant worker Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw). She provides him with shelter and food, and he takes care of her baby son Yonas (Boluwatife Treasure Bankole) in return. Jailed for committing a violent crime, he finally seeks justice in a courtroom.
In Arabic with English subtitles
Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and winner of 3 other prizes there. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film.
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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.
“Labaki’s extraordinary empathy for the dispossessed and the underdogs, and her compassionate rage at the system that has put them all where they are, evokes both Ken Loach at his most trenchant (think I, Daniel Blake or Cathy Come Home) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters). It’s a hard road to travel, yes, but Labaki makes you want to squeeze into Zain’s shoes, if just for a couple of hours.” Austin Chronicle
“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.” Radio Times
“With two astonishing child performances, Capernaum is a real heart-breaker.” Empire