Photo by Joe Asico
Amb. Rivkin, Zaid and Nadine Labaki
Amb. Rivkin, Zaid and Nadine Labaki

“There isn’t really a technique. There’s no recipe,” writer/director Nadine Labaki of Capernaum told the audience at a private screening at the AMC Theater in Georgetown in response to a question posed by Ambassador Charles Rivkin, Chairman & CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. The question: “Everyone that has seen this extraordinary film has asked a question which is – what’s your production methodology?” You will understand the question when you see the movie.

Capernaum‘s plot synopsis: “Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum (“Chaos”) tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the ‘crime’ of giving him life.

Capernaum follows Zain, a gutsy streetwise child as he flees his negligent parents, survives through his wits on the streets, takes care of Ethiopian refugee Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw) and her baby son, Yonas (Boluwatife Treasure Bankole), being jailed for a crime, and finally, seeks justice in a courtroom. Capernaum was made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. Following her script, Labaki placed her performers in scenes and asked them to react spontaneously with their own words and gestures.”