Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Capharnaüm 2018


Directed by Nadine Labaki Big Nights

A runaway boy sues his parents for bringing him into the world in this sprawling tale of against-the-odds resilience. “Nadine Labaki’s journey through the slums of Lebanon thrills with compassion and heart.” — Anna Smith, Time Out

Lebanon In Amharic and Arabic with English subtitles
123 minutes CinemaScope/DCP




Khaled Mouzanar
Michel Merkt


Nadine Labaki
Jihad Hojeily
Michelle Kesrouani
Georges Khabbaz
Khaled Mouzanar


Christopher Aoun


Konstantin Bock
Laure Gardette

Production designer

Hussein Baydoun

Costume designer

Zeina Saab Demelero


Khaled Mouzanar


Zain Al Rafeea (Zain)
Yordanos Shiferaw (Rahil)
Boluwatife Treasure Bankole (Yonas)
Kawthar Al Haddad (Souad)
Fadi Kamel Youssef (Selim)
Cedra Izam (Sahar)
Alaa Chouchnieh (Aspro)
Nadine Labaki (Nadine)


Cannes (In Competition) 2018


Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2018

A popular hit in Cannes, and already eyed-up as an Oscar contender, this heartfelt drama of a runaway boy’s life on the streets of Beirut was shot with a cast of non-professional actors by Lebanese actress/director/co-writer Nadine Labaki (Caramel, NZIFF08).

“While this is unquestionably an issue film, it tackles its subject with intelligence and heart… Labaki uses a trial to structure the film, though this isn’t a courtroom drama... Admittedly the case could probably only exist in cinema: Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), already serving a five-year sentence for stabbing someone, is suing his parents… for giving him life. Approximately 12 years old (even his parents don’t know his exact age, and they never got a birth certificate), this pint-sized James Dean is a sensitive toughie simmering with righteous resentment. One glimpse at his troubled home life and it’s easy to understand why…

Firmly in the tradition of great guttersnipe dramas, the film pays a considerable amount of attention to milieu, foregrounding the solidarity of children as they struggle to survive in an adult-made hell... Moments of humor…offer just the right balance with the overall unforced pathos… Young Al Rafeea is a revelation as the swaggering, foul-mouthed Zain, combining the requisite traits of wounded sensitivity with seasoned resilience that somehow never feels clichéd.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety

Capharnaüm is a howl of protest against social injustice, a film as grounded in a place and time and yet as universal in its empathy with the dispossessed as Bicycle Thieves or Salaam Bombay!” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily