Nadine Labaki’s ‘Capernaun’ is a one-of-a-kind film set in the slums of Beirut, where a twelve year old boy named Zain, serving a five year sentence at the Roumieh Prison sues his parents for having ‘brought him into the world’. A tale of infancy robbed of all its innocence, ‘Capernaum’ is a harrowing film that dwells on the injustice meted out to hundreds of thousands of deprived children across the world.
This is a cinematic piece that drops us on a land that is far, far away from a life that we could possibly imagine, where on the one hand an illegal immigrant Rahil worriedly hides her newborn Yonas and frantically hushes up his gurgles all the while striving to get some papers forged, and an eleven old girl Sahar, married off to a man who is old enough to be her dad, simply bleeds and dies.
There is Zain too, who connects all of these strands together and has much more than a battle of his own to wage. Thrown out on the streets to fight for his own cause, he takes to selling tramadol drinks to potential customers, all the while hatching a plan to flee to Sweden. Meanwhile, Yonas, the toddler starts getting a taste of what life in this brutal city is like, when his mother disappears all on a sudden, and he is left all alone with Zain.
This is a harsh film that does not on any occasion euphemize. It is certainly not an easy watch either, and the lead performances, especially by the young actors whom the film maker reportedly found on the streets, are to be seen to be believed. A heartrending account on poverty and hardships, ‘Capernaum’ is a film that needs to be watched and discussed without fail