Capernaum (Capharnaüm)



Sequoia 1 Sat, Oct 13, 2018 8:15 PM
Film Info
Category:Mind the Gap
Section:World Cinema
Running Time:121 min.
Director:Nadine Labaki
Producer:Michel Merkt
Khaled Mouzanar
Screenwriter:Jihad Hojeily
Michelle Keserwany
Nadine Labaki
Khaled Mouzanar
Cinematographer:Christopher Aoun
Editor:Konstantin Bock
Cast:Zain Al Rafeea
Yordanos Shiferaw
Fadi Yousef
Nadine Labaki
Print Source:Sony Pictures Classics
Note Writer:Zoë Elton


A 12-year-old boy, Zain, sues his parents in court: Asked why, he replies, “For giving me life.” Director Nadine Labaki’s (Caramel, MVFF 2007) deeply moving film opens our eyes—and our hearts—to the plight of the dispossessed, notably children. Zain runs away when his parents sell his beloved sister into marriage; life on the street pushes his resourcefulness to the limits. Meeting Rahil, an Ethiopian woman without papers, he babysits her (adorable) toddler while she works. Until, one day, she doesn’t return. As Zain, real-life Syrian refugee Zain Al Rafeea is extraordinary, an old soul in a wise-child body. Using nonprofessional actors whose personal backgrounds mirror what we see onscreen (think, Salaam Bombay!), Labaki is “trying to understand how the system fails these kids.” In doing so, she addresses one of the most pressing humanitarian issues worldwide, doing so with compassion rather than blame. It’s a profound achievement that received a Jury Prize at Cannes.

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In association with Cinefemme

Additional Information

Lebanon native Nadine Labaki received her degree in audiovisual studies in 1997 from Beirut’s Saint-Joseph University before getting her start as an award-winning music video and commercials director. Her first feature, Caramel (2007), won Cannes’ Youth Jury Award and the Audience Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival. In 2008, she received the Insignia of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture. Her second feature, Where Do We Go Now? (2011), won several festival awards. In 2014, Labaki wrote and directed “O Milagre,” a segment of the anthology film Rio, I Love You.