written by Souranath Banerjee
Rarely does a film have the potential to empower you, aspire you and at the same time make you feel ashamed of the world you are living in!
My Ratings: 4.4/5
A young boy, only 12 year-old sues his parents! The child wants his voice to be heard. He wants the judge to listen to him. He wants all the adults in the world to listen to him. But what is it so important that a dirt poor Beirut street kid has to offer? May be something we all know but choose not to care about.
“I want to make a complaint against my parents. I’d want adults to listen to me. I want adults who can’t raise kids not to have any. What will I remember? Violence, insults or beatings, hit with chains, pipes, or a belt?”
Capernaum is a film that portrays the adventures (hardships to be more appropriate) of Zain, a kid from Lebanon who runs away from his abusive parents and tries to figure out the pitiless world on his own. He meets interesting people on his journey, the old forgetful Cockroach man, and then an Ethiopian woman named Rahil. She is an immigrant without legal papers who lets Zain stay at her place. And in return Zain takes care of Rahil’s toddler while she is out at work. But soon Zain is again on the street, cold hungry and shelterless, with nothing but the toddler and a stolen skateboard – standing all alone against the world outside!
No wonder the film’s title Capharnaüm means ‘chaos’ in Arabic, and is also a reference for the Biblical town cursed by Christ.
Directed by Nadine Labaki, Capernaum was the official Lebanese entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA and almost every other prestigious film festivals across the world. Competing for the Palme d’Or, it won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere!
A work of fiction but based on reality! Each character in the film has been influenced by some real person whom Nadine Labaki met and interacted while researching on the plot. Surprisingly all non actors were casted in the film. The shoot went on for six months which gave her 12 hours of footage to edit from. And then the editing process lasted for over two years!
The brilliant cinematography by Christopher Aoun of the Beirut alleys gives the film the much needed documentary like reality and the performances of the actors are unbelievably genuine! Specially the young lead actor is simply terrific, he is an actual Syrian refugee named Zain Al Rafeea.
For me Capernaum brought back fond memories of Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire and Mira Nair‘s Salaam Bombay! But then again it will be an injustice to compare such movies because these are not mere cinema but a shout out to the society we live in. They show us the real world. They show us the mirror. They show us that we have lost the battle. They show us that may be we still have a chance!
If you still haven’t please watch Capernaum. You may be in tears but you won’t regret it. Trust me.
Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com