April 14, 2021

The childhood of fear

The childhood of fear

In the badly bent corners of the streets of Lebanon, between walls flooded with so much misery that they can hardly bear the weight of the world, lives a child whose heart aches. To remove that pain from the body decides to denounce his parents for an unintentionally guilty event: to have given him life. As if it were a scratch in the pit of his stomach, "Capernaum", the fourth film by the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, gets fully into the edges of the disinherited of the earth and puts on the table the uncomfortable mirror of the social inequality through the history of Zain. "If there is one thing that was clear to me from the beginning, I wanted to work with children who were children, not actors. I wanted to show reality through actions, situations and real plots and when I saw Zain's eyes for the first time in a zebra crossing I found in them so much truth that I had to do something to see them again, "says the filmmaker about the young man twelve-year-old Syrian refugee who plays in this film what could well be the story of his own life.

Drowned report

Labaki builds a powerful story that strangles Western consciences, accelerates the debate of social determinism and necessarily assaults the sensibility of a spectator unused to the dirty showcase of poverty. «Childhood is something that awakens my sensitivity too much. A child needs love to be able to be and in the Middle East this is not very common, "he says. The director shows a city where raising your head to look at the sky is a gift. She admits that despite being quite used to being in front of the cameras -including in this film where she plays the role of Zain's lawyer-, positioning herself behind gives her completely different narrative licenses; "It is different. Directing I feel complete. Able to turn into images the ideas that resound in my head. The screen makes me free because I am not interpreting but creating ». Without a birth certificate or a trace of his existence in the Civil Registry, Zain is exposed to ostracism and emotional helplessness of parents who could not choose the life they wanted to take and do nothing because their son's life was worth living.


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