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1982 (2019, LIB) – 7/10

In the past few years, the Lebanese have even had two films that were nominated for an Oscar. Although truly outstanding films, neither Ziad Doueri’s “Insult” nor Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” brought that Middle Eastern country its first golden statuette, and the Oscar candidate there was also this romantic drama with elements of fantasy and the smell of war in which Labaki is brilliant played one of the main roles. The year 1982 was not chosen by chance, because then the first Lebanese war began, which would later turn into a long-term civil war, during which the capital city of Beirut would literally be razed to the ground. Screenwriter and director Oualid Mouaness used his own memories from his school days to create this interesting drama, which takes place on the very day that the Israeli bombing of Beirut is about to begin.

At first it seems that it is just another in a series of ordinary days at an international school in English for the children of those residents of Lebanon with slightly deeper pockets. Muslims, Christians and foreigners attend school together, but from the behavior of the teachers and school staff, it is clear to us that something is wrong. Teacher Yasmine (Labaki) is worried about her family on the other side of the city, and she is further driven crazy by her brother who decided to join the guerrillas in the south of the city. The other adults are also tense and restless. They listen to the news all the time, but they try to behave in front of the children as if everything is normal.

The test is being written, but 10-year-old Wissam has other preoccupations. He is secretly in love with his colleague Joanna. An additional problem is not only that it is the last day of classes, but also that they live in different parts of Beirut and are already separated by numerous checkpoints, and he is aware that his school is the only place where he can win her favor. Although his chubby friend Majid answers him, Wissam finally decides to admit to Joanna that he is the one secretly leaving romantic notes in her locker. But in the moments when he gathered his courage, Israeli planes began to appear in the sky, detonations that were initially heard somewhere in the distance, as if they were getting closer. Wissam becomes aware that this may be his last chance to tell the girl how he feels about her, but the question is whether it’s too late. The situation is more and more chaotic, everyone is more and more frightened and looking for ways to escape, and when it becomes clear to us that complete destruction is inevitable, children’s escapism and fantasy will work, with which Mouaness interestingly rounded off this (until then) realistic drama.