From the very moment you hear about the movie Capernaum, you know that if given the chance, it has the potential to make you tear up. Capernaum, is a film about how a young boy came about to sue his parents for neglect after having to survive the streets on his own.
The very first scene in Capernaum depicts this kid named Zain, being examined by a doctor who is trying to determine his age. The film quickly introduces the audience to characters that will be showing up in the story of how Zain came to sue his parents. Once everyone was introduced, we cut to Zain’s trial and the judge begins asking questions.
Here we are introduced to the life of Zain. Because of Zain and his family’s socioeconomic status, Zain has to go work with a family friend who owns a convenience store. Zain knows that his family’s friend is a total creep and whenever he realizes that he might lose his sister to him, he tries to do whatever he can to stop that from happening.
Though his efforts are relentless, Zain still has to witness his sister get married to the family’s friend and that is when Zain decides he has had enough of his family and turns to the streets. Because he is still so young and so frail, Zain has limited work opportunities but is soon helped out by an Ethiopian refugee named Rahil. While Rahil went to work, Zain took care of her son and in exchange got a place in this little family of hers.
We then see how Zain’s life is like during this time. The baby and Zain start getting along and this helps whenever Rahil is arrested by the police for not having proper documentation. Because it is literally just Zain and Jonas, aka the baby, Zain has to bear even more responsibilities.
This leads to Zain placing Jonas in the care of someone else and ends up in jail after finding out about his sisters passing and stabbing her husband.
There is so much about this film that makes it exceptional. Nadine Labaki, the films director casted people who lived these realities she wanted to represent in the media. Before shooting, she would tell the cast an idea of what was supposed to happen and then encouraged them to improvise and keep it going. This resulted in many hours of footage that she narrowed down to just an hour and nineteen minutes long.
In my opinion, the most heartbreaking scene in this movie is whenever Rahil comes home from work one day and she nuzzles and plays with her baby before she puts him to sleep. Although it is a heartwarming scene, this moment is cut off to Zain hearing Jona’s coos and crying silently.
Im 100% sure my eyes were not the only ones that were tearing up during this scene because the emotions portrayed in this film were so raw and so real it really hit me that this was the reality for some people.
Capernaum is a film that captures a disturbing reality that many refugees have to experience and also captures the duality of man. This movie makes you feel a roller coaster of emotions ranging from having to see a mom explain to her son where his eleven year old sister went to a little kid becoming friends with his adoptive brother. There is no way you’re gonna see what happens next and it is definitely a film that will have you reaching fr the tissues at least three times.