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Debate Gala

Capernaum

Capharnaüm

Acclaimed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki delivers her most assured and affecting work yet with this astonishing and heart-wrenching depiction of life in the shadows.

Dir Nadine Labaki
Prod Khaled Mouzanar, Michel Merkt
Scr Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojaily, Michelle Kesrouani
With Zain Al Raffea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawthar Al Haddad, Fadi Kamel Youssef
Lebanon
2018
123min
UK Distribution Picturehouse Entertainment
Subtitles

In 2007, Nadine Labaki emerged as one of the Arab world’s most distinctive filmmakers with her feature debut Caramel. A perfectly judged tale of life in a Beirut beauty salon, the film enjoyed unprecedented international success. While some expected Labaki (who first earned her stripes as a music-video director of bubblegum but subversively feminist Arabic pop) to continue producing crowd-pleasing fare, she opted to challenge herself as a director. She next tackled sectarianism and internecine conflict in Where Do We Go Now? and now offers a moving portrait of poverty and disenfranchisement in Capernaum. It tells the story of Zain, a young boy from an impoverished family, who sues his parents for having brought him into a world of such suffering and despair. Along the way, he forges an unlikely bond with a toddler, the child of an Ethiopian maid working illegally in Lebanon. Filming on location in Beirut, Labaki draws out astonishing performances from her young leads while taking the viewer on a journey into subterranean areas of the Lebanese capital, where people exist below the poverty line and lack any legal recognition. Most importantly, Labaki humanises her characters, gradually building towards a finale that is as emotionally devastating as it is life-affirming.

Ali Jaafar

Additional information

The introduction and Q&A will be BSL interpreted at the screening on Wed 17 Oct.

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