After fleeing their negligent and abusive parents, a hardened and stray 12-year-old boy demands them to protest the life they have given him.
Initial release: December 14, 2018 (USA)
Director: Nadine Labaki
Nominations: Palme d’Or, Cannes Best Actress Award, MORE
Cast: Nadine Labaki, Kawthar Al Haddad, Fadi Yousef, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw
Prizes: Cannes Jury Prize, Golden Orange Award for Best Actor (International), Golden Orange Youth Jury Prize
Producers: Khaled Mouzanar, Michel Merkt
Or all his occasional sentimentality, this film is about the link between poverty and anger. It is a much more angry movie, harder and, sometimes, more fun, than you could imagine by its cloying premise
Zain (Zain Alrafeea) is a 12-year-old boy in Beirut, deeply embittered by his poverty, by the fact that his parents did not protect him from him and by the desperate and humiliating adaptations they have made to obtain money. They have effectively sold their beloved sister Samar (Cedra Izam), 11 years old, in marriage to the spooky son of his owner, an agreement that will have a tragic result. Zain is now in the famous prison of Roumieh in Lebanon, from which he is initiating a lawsuit against his parents, suing them for the fact that he was born: a legal trick apparently encouraged by a current television program as a way of disseminate the issue of child poverty.
It’s a fundamentally silly and capricious idea, and it does not bode well for the rest of the movie. But an extended flashback shows us how Zain got to be in prison in the first place, and that’s a surprising story, although the director Nadine Labaki (who in fact has a rather absurd cameo as Zain’s lawyer) is certainly not shy about pressing the emotional buttons of the audience.
Despite being only 12 years old, Zain has the aggressive and sullen cynicism of someone who is 20 years older. He is not the enigmatic silent saint that can normally be seen in the world cinema dramas about poverty. Zain responds: incessantly he tells the “imbeciles” to “go fuck themselves”. This contempt applies especially to their bullied parents. They have a scam that will forge Tramadol recipes that can then be smuggled into jail by crushing powder, dissolved in hot water in which they wash their clothes, and these are taken to jail as gifts to prisoners They seem innocuous. Clothes saturated with drugs are boiled and drained, and the liquid is sold as “tramadol injections” inside