TIFF review: Capernaum

Nadine Labaki's compassionate film follows a 12-year-old Beirut boy who wants wants to sue his parents for bringing him into the world

CAPERNAUM SPEC D: Nadine Labaki. Lebanon. 120 min. Sep 7, 4:30 pm, Elgin Sep 9, 9:30 am, TBLB 2. See listing. Rating: NNNN

This emotionally potent tale of life in the slums of Beirut focuses on the story of a 12-year-old boy who wants to sue his parents for bringing him into the world.

Via courtroom flashbacks we learn that he’s a victim of gross neglect that’s led him to find refuge in the home of an Ethiopian immigrant who’s hiding her baby from the authorities. Despite occasional outbursts that result from his difficult upbringing, Labaki shows us that the boy is capable of caring for others.

Her frank depiction of unseemly behaviour is heartbreakingly real, her tireless humanism a constant presence.

Labaki was one of only three women directors in competition at Cannes this year she won the Jury Prize for her compassionate film.


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