The Mess

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A movie is worth watching only if it inspires you to think beyond your everyday experience. CAPERNAUM is one such epic movie which dealt a very sensitive issue with fine balance of not indulging into miserabilism. This is a heart-wrenching story of a beautiful young boy named Zain in the backdrop of refugee problem in Lebanon. It raised so many questions about childhood, parenting, social injustice, immigration without being biased or melodramatic. Nadine Labaki brought home what poverty and desperation do, and at the same time what love and humanity mean in an interwoven story of people from different backgrounds in two and half hours’ time.

All a child needs is love and empathy, not an expensive gift. But what about a child who faces just opposite, runs away from his parents in protest of his sister’s plight in their own hands and comes on the street for the basic needs of life? It is not just story of Zain, it is story of millions of such children in today’s world. They become the tiny elements of the large social and religious machinery which uses, abuses, exploits them; put them into vicious cycle of poverty, addiction, crime and ultimately blame them also for being miscreants of the society in their adulthood. The question is whom we should blame and who will take care of this grand mess. 

Zain directly pointed finger to his parents of having children without having ability to take care of them. His father blames the society which says “Without children, you’re not a man.” and ultimately he declares “I curse the day I got married.”. He is the product of the same machinery. 

Zain does not know about his age or identity or why he is suffering so much, only thing he knows is that he’s in juvenile prison because he “stabbed a sonofabitch”, and that he wants to sue his parents for “being born”. He is an exceptional child in the whole lot, a fighter who has no option but to remain independent and tireless at the end of each depleting day, with no hope of a better tomorrow. Regardless of the amount of suffering Zain goes through, he delivers an utmost love and care for everyone around him. His fight for his sister’s dignity, the way he takes care of Yonas, the toddler of a strange Ethiopian immigrant mother, gives us hope that love and humanity still survive in the heart of a child even if he has been searching for the same since his birth. 

The movie is difficult, almost unwatchable at some points, but it has been balanced with humor and fine touch of love, humanity & soulfulness. It raises awareness of how bad life can get when your parents are misguided and not ready to be parent at the first place.

Every child comes with a great potential to become independent, resourceful & truly valuable to the society. It is pathetic & unpardonable if a child feels unsafe and he needs to fight for his own survival despite there are so many adults around him. Life is only worth living if it is enjoyable and have a purpose. It is not a crime to be well off, but it is a crime to be indifferent, to find some excuses and pass on the responsibility to someone else. It is easy to blame less fortunate people for their own miseries without knowing their conditions and how it impacts them mentally & physically. We can never call us civilized, our society can never be happy & peaceful when there is so much disparity and the large section of our society struggles to get a decent life. I hope everyone watches this movie and starts doing his bit to make this world a better place. The sudden flash of innocent smile on Zain’s hardened face at the end gives us lot of hope & aspiration!

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