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12 year old Zain (Zain Al Fareea) sues his parents: he‘s accusing them of putting him on this Earth and thereby making him suffer an awful fate.


The framework of CAPERNAUM is an unusual trial. 12 year old Zain (Zain Al Fareea) has sued his parents: he‘s accusing them of putting him on this Earth and thereby making him suffer an awful fate. While the accusation is dealt with in court and Zain pleads his case, we see his life story. It first leads us to an overcrowded apartment surrounded by an endless maze of alleys and desert brown apartment blocks in the middle of a Moloch of a city somewhere in Lebanon. Zain, his parents, and his many siblings live here, all of them dependent on the apartment owner Aspro who also runs a store around the corner. Zain delivers purchaes for him all day long, including heavy gas bottles. When Aspro demands to wed Zain‘s beloved sister Sahar, Zain tries to escape with her and ends up alone in a fairground where Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw) offers him accommodation without pqpers in the country and he ekes out a living as a cleaner. She tries to hide that she has a small child from her boss. Zain takes care of the one year old Yonas all day from then on.

Nadine Labaki (CARAMEL) shot CAPERNAUM almost entirely with amateur actors that know the lives that they are depicting. Her film develops with an incredible intensity – also through the detailed descriptions of their daily lives. It‘s not just the big dramas that wear down the invisible residents of Capernaum, it‘s also the boring, never-ending routine, the daily worries, the daily fight for money. Fascinated by Zain‘s resourcefulness we see him overcome a new burden every day and master his life. It‘s a difficult path when things are going well. And then Rahin disappears and Zain has to see how he can support not only himself but also little Yonas...


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Capharnaüm
Libanon/Frankreich/USA 2018, 120 min
Language: Arabic
Genre: Drama
Director: Nadine Labaki
Author: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily
DOP: Christopher Aoun
Montage: Konstantin Bock
Music: Khaled Mouzanar
Distributor: Alamode Filmverleih
Cast: Nadine Labaki
FSK: 12
Release: 17.01.2019

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