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THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN
2020, Samuel Goldwyn Films, 104 min, Tunisia/France, Dir: Kaouther Ben Hania

Sam Ali (Yahya Mahayni), a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he agrees to have his back tattooed by one of the world’s most sulfurous contemporary artists. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam discovers that his decision might mean anything but freedom. A 2021 Oscar nominee for Best International Feature Film.


CAPERNAUM
2018, Sony Pictures Classics, 121 min, Dir: Nadine Labaki

This Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner follows gutsy, streetwise 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) as he survives through his wits on the streets of Beirut. Zain takes care of an Ethiopian refugee and her baby son but is jailed for a crime; when he gets his day in court, he sues his negligent parents for the “crime” of giving him life. The title of this ultimately hopeful drama means chaos, and though steeped in the quiet routines of ordinary people (the cast are playing characters whose lives parallel their own), CAPERNAUM is peppered with surprising bursts of emotional intensity, unexpected tenderness and poetic imagery. “Proving herself an astonishingly accomplished director of non-professional performers as well as a measured storyteller, Labaki draws attention to the plight of children in Beirut’s slums and the Kafka-esque bind of people without ID cards. While this is unquestionably an issue film, it tackles its subject with intelligence and heart.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety.


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