Capernaum Movie Review
A review of Capernaum by one of our members, Dr Sunita Reddy.
When my friend Kinnera told me that I should not miss this Lebanese film, Capernaum being screened by Moving Images, I read the blurb and went very reluctantly because I knew it would just be too poignant to take.
It was in fact the most moving film and closest to reality I had ever seen in my life. For an hour and a half we were transported to a slum in Beirut into the family of Zain, a twelve year old grown well beyond his actual age on the streets of his home town.
Through the story of Zain we are introduced to characters like Rahil, an undocumented Ethiopian living in great fear with her son. The travails of Zain as he walks out of home and the pathetic conditions faced by illegal immigrants is sure to bring tears to the most hardened souls. The street smart and cocky Zain and his audacious idea of suing his parents for giving birth to him and his siblings underlines the importance of the need for people living in such deplorable conditions to limit their families. The absolutely pathetic conditions under which the urban poor live, not unlike as in our very own Dharavi, and the gut wrenching scenes of the immigrants are relieved to some extent with flashes of humour and brilliant acting.
Kudos to the director, Nadine Labaki! It would not have been easy to get a12 year old (and other kids around the same age and less) to perform they way they did. It’s amazing how she manages to keep the audience completely engrossed in the film until the very last scene, despite the bleakness of the theme. The scenes directed with such empathy are sure to win the hearts of the most cynical and apathetic person. This is an artiste’s way of bringing attention to the plight of the disposessd in a world getting more and more polarised and unequal. A must see (available on Netflix) specially for those who speak with contempt and disdain about immigrants.
Another review by Arti Kodali – a guest.
I saw the movie as a tale of two types of people. The ones who genuinely struggle to have a better life like the Ethiopian lady and Zain and others who curse their fate and go on with lifestyles and habits that perpetuate their misery. It’s not just immigrants. Most people fall into these two categories. Whether as immigrants or people with papers, whether rich or poor. One category ready to play with whatever hand they are dealt with, with means, fair or foul to better their lot and the other cursing fate, god whatever and worsening the circumstances AND expecting aid, sympathy etc etc. A film that is hard to forget.