Capernaum – 8

A tremendously powerful film about a 12-year-old street urchin in Lebanon who alternately games the system and is thwarted by it. The depiction of Arab street life might be hard to take for the unfamiliar viewer, but resonated with my North African Peace Corps memories. The plight of the refugee woman and son, not to mention Zain’s family life, seemed dramatically hopeless, but director Nadine Labaki tacked on a happy ending out of the blue that made the viewing experience enriching, not devastating. (Incidentally, this was a nice companion piece to fellow Oscar nominee, Shoplifters.)

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