One of the films I heard the most buzz about at Middleburg this year was Capernaum, which earned director Nadine Labaki the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. So I had to check it out for myself after some encouragement from a trusted friend, and it’s easy to see why the Beirut-set drama about a spunky Lebanese boy surviving only on his wits was quickly picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for release during the awards season.
Capernaum centers on Zain (the incredible Zain Al Rafeea), a young Lebanese boy who we’re introduced to as he’s suing his parents for the crime of giving him life. The story then takes us through his hard luck story, as he flees his negligent parents and connects with an Ethiopian refugee, eventually helping her care for her young son until she is jailed and Zain must watch the child himself.
What stands out about Labaki’s film is the stunning authenticity of it, relying on first-time actors to add that realism to an already difficult story. It’s a tough movie to watch, and I wasn’t totally in the right frame of mind for it, hence no review from Middleburg, but as the film is hitting theaters on December 14th expect that to change.