Capernaum Opens In LA & NY December 14th
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, CAPERNAUM (“Chaos”) a new film by Nadine Labaki about the journey of a clever, gutsy 12-year-old boy, Zain, who survives the dangers of the city streets by his wits. He flees his parents and to assert his rights, takes them to court suing them for the “crime” of giving him life.
CAPERNAUM was made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. Following her script, Labaki placed her performers in scenes and asked them to react spontaneously with their own words and gestures. When the non-actors’ instincts diverged from the written scriptLabaki adapted the screenplay to follow the resulting in a neo-realism that has been compared to that of De Sica and Rossellini. Labaki creates a deft portrait of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy that ensnarls its subjects with regulations that make their difficult lives nearly impossible. Today, the two leads in the film live in Norway and France
Written and directed by Nadine Labaki, Capernaum is not an easy film to watch. She takes you in a place that is difficult because it is so real. You know situations like this exits but you really don’t want to believe it. In Capernaum, we follow Zain(ZAIN AL RAFEEA) in his attempt to live a better life. He is with parents that are angry, depressed and abusive living a life that seems destined never to improve while they take out their frustrations on the children. As you watch Zain struggle to protect his sister from the hardship of their world is both endearing and terribly sad.
Life is depressing for the entire family and the lack of concern the parents have their children is heart-wrenching. It becomes a terrifying ordeal for Zain when his sister is forced to marry a much older man. This is an especially hard scene to watch as Zain yells, screams and punches his parents to stop while his sister is dragged from the home kicking and screaming. This is the last straw for Zain and he runs away from home.
But things get more complicated for him when he meets YORDANOS SHIFERAW (Rahil) an illegal immigrant with a young child. As Zain is pulled into her world he struggles to survive like no child should have too but this is the reality of his existence. When Zain returns home only to learn of his sister’s death becomes the catalyst that becomes the force that propels is next move.
Though challenging to watch Capernaum is still hopeful in its message that with perseverance a better life could be possible and the willingness to care for others is the light that can bring hope and love to our hearts.
CAPERNAUM concludes on a note of cautious optimism for Zain. “At the end of the film, Zain is smiling because he was able to raise his voice,” says Labaki. “He’s still going to be in prison, but he was able to make his voice heard. He’s registered now. He’s going to have a piece of paper with his name on it. Does that mean that all his worries are over? Of course not. But it’s just the small victory that gives you a small light at the end of the tunnel to keep you going.”