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Capernaum zain thinks he’s twelve years old, but he’s not entirely sure. His parents don’t know for sure either. He does Capernaum not have a birth certificate. In fact, he has nothing else in this life than to contemplate and suffer on his own skin the misery, pain and hopelessness that cling tightly around him. Zain is one of the thousands of children who grow up helpless on the streets of Beirut, a city that filmmaker Nadine Labaki draws in Capernaum as the epicenter of a heartbreaking place, a direct witness to the subhuman conditions in which these minors live, instead of going to school and dreaming of a future are stripped of all hope, thrown to work from an early age to put some food in their mouths.

The first sequence already warns the viewer of the intensity of this film that was awarded the jury prize at the last Cannes festival. The young protagonist, whom we see in the street sharing cigarettes and fighting with wooden swords with other children, appears handcuffed before a judge who has sentenced him to five years in prison for having stabbed someone. “Do you know why you are here”? Says the magistrate, to which Zain responds without blinking and directly with a petition to sue his parents “for having brought me into the world.” The parents are present in the room. The father excuses himself through tears assuring that his life has not been easy either.