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Capernaum(کفرناحوم)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Lebanon, USA, France

2018

Rated R • 2h 6m

Director Nadine Labaki

Starring Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Nadine Labaki

Genre Drama

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Zain, a hardened 12-year-old boy scrambling to survive on the streets of Beirut, sues his parents for having brought him into such an unjust world where being a refugee with no documents means that your rights can easily be denied. Reminiscent of the Italian Neorealist films, the film paints a brutal and heartbreaking portrait of poverty.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

58

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Capernaum’s neorealist spirit is smothered by its sentimentality and endless string of indignities; it’s as if the film is operating as Zain’s trial defense, every moment making his case that it probably would have been better if he’d never been born.
80

Time Out by Anna Smith

It’s quietly absorbing and fitfully shocking as we experience the sights, sounds and smells of the streets where a one-year-old child can wander around alone without anyone stopping to wonder why.
50

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Capernaum is a movie that wants its audience to empathize with its protagonist so intensely that you agree he should never have been born. It’s a fascinating (if obviously counterintuitive) approach, but one that’s frustrated by the literalness with which Labaki unpacks it.
83

The Playlist by Jordan Ruimy

Capharnaüm is not without its issues. The director over-relies on the courtroom scenes and the movie’s message is heavy-handed at times. Yet, the sheer force of the filmmaking and its artful delivery overpowers sappy overreaching.
70

Screen International by Lee Marshall

If it doesn’t tie many (or any) of these thematic strands with a neat bow, that’s in the nature of a film that chooses raw dramatic power over narrative finesse.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin

Although the narrative is structured through a highly unbelievable instigating conceit — Zain is trying to sue his own parents in court for giving him life in the first place — Labaki lures such outstanding performances out of the almost entirely non-professional cast and sketches such a credible view of this wretchedly poor milieu that the flaws are mostly forgivable.
80

CineVue by Martyn Conterio

Makes for a generally powerful statement on human misery and grotesque inequality, though some third act creative decisions and maneuvers cause a wobble or two.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

A social-realist blockbuster – fired by furious compassion and teeming with sorrow, yet strewn with diamond-shards of beauty, wit and hope.

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