Nina Maaluf | SCV Movie-Goers: Check Out “Capernaum”

I would like to bring your attention to a fabulous movie, “Capernaum.” I had to drive to Pasadena to watch it. I work in the industry. Even on that level screeners of it have not been given out as is customary. Anyway, the movie is now nominated for Best Foreign Movie along with four others in this year’s Oscars.

The movie is not an art house type of movie. It is full of small anecdotes that are very easy to follow with subtitles generally two lines, maximum of six words a line. Really simple! Even my 11-year-old has watched it and navigated well with it.

The content of “Capernaum” is what demands a wider net for audiences to go see it. It tells the story of a child swallowed in systemic ways. A result of displacement. Refugee status. Are you aware that 65 million people are displaced? That 32 million kids are growing without access to schools and most likely working at the age of 8 and up? Exposed to the elements when just infants, as their families suffer from poverty etc.? I only found these out after watching the movie. It is so powerful. It will blow you away and if Bob Mondello of NPR says it is an epic, I tell you it is an immersion, an initiation of sorts. You walk out of it teary eyed, muddled and a gazillion questions on your mind. And here Sony chose to only play it in Laemmle Theaters — of recent I noticed a bit wider net to one AMC theater and one Regency. It boggles me that it is not spread out to people in the industry: a link; a small DVD can be directed to them. Nada! zilch! Kaput! Muffled! That is what I see has happened to it. It is not an art movie for them to do that. I tell you they have shown it in many film festivals, Santa Barbara, San Fransisco, Palm Springs, New York  — but not to the general public and mostly not to the people of the industry. At the Directors Guild of America, Peter Farrelly mentioned Nadine Labaki as being missed among the nominated Best Director category. The first Middle Eastern woman director who has done a masterpiece for the ages, picking all her actors from the slums of Beirut. The boy was recognized at New Mexico film Festival with the Best Child Performance award. Zain will grip your heart, I tell you. 

The rest are veritable, off-the-street people with palpable performances by each and every one. I advise you to go see it and then tell me I am exaggerating. 

In Capernaum there isn’t a song that lifts you, a deliberate numbing, sad tune — only a smile at the very end that lifts you a bit. 

Sony Classics paid a feeble $1.3 million for the distribution rights in the U.S. as disclosed by Hollywood Reporter. Should the industry be denied the opportunity! While every other movie in that category has cost so much more, is playing in regular theaters, on Netflix .. and this gem, this fountain of humanity gets an applause here and there. You tell me if Spielberg has done this and has taken such measures in being authentic: What would the publicity be like? What registry would be opened after it, what chronicles of memoirs would be filed? What conversation(s) would be started? 

I truly see our humanity dissolving. What has become of us?

Please, I wish you give it the attention it deserves in our Valley. It needs to run in our theaters and hopefully you encourage our community to see it. It deserves all the attention we can give it. We will be serving the universe doing that. Thank you for your time! 

Nina Maaluf, Valencia

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