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Capernaum (Chaos)

(Lebanon, English Subtitles): The film opens as Zain, who is “about 12 or 13”, is being examined by a doctor. Next, we are taken to the courtroom, where Zain and his attorney are suing his parents for “giving him life”. The rest of the movie tells the story of how Zain ended up in the courtroom. The director takes us on a journey through the lives of these people who live on the fringes of society in Lebanon, people (adults and children) who struggle to meet their basic needs and struggle for survival. The film is gritty and at times tough to watch, but the story grabbed me and kept me 100% focused on the screen for the entire 2 hours. The director chose people (almost all of them not professional actors) who are most like the characters in the film in real life and left some parts unscripted. The result is a film that feels authentic, almost documentary-like. The acting by all is terrific, but the performance by the person who plays Zain is incredible. It is no surprise that the film won the 2018 Cannes Grand Jury prize. Big thumbs up for a film that feels a lot like “The Florida Project” in how it captures people who are barely making ends meet but is much grittier and hard-hitting. This is one of my favorite films of the year.

About Gary Burkholder

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