Film about childhood are often only as strong as the feelings invoked by their settings and scenarios. Thankfully, for Oualid Mouaness’ first feature 1982, the subject matter is a heartbreaking one, particularly when seen through childlike eyes.
For 11-year-old Wassim (Mohammad Dali), little matters more than informing his crush Joana (Gia Madi) of his feelings for her. But darkness appears on the horizon, with the siege of Beirut set for immanent escalation. The adults are aware, notably teachers Yesmine (Capernaum director Nadine Labaki) and Joseph (Rodrigue Sleman), however, they too are no more certain of the future than the children. As the violence encroaches upon the school, the tension ramps up, and the world becomes fraught with peril.
One scene that encapsulates 1982 involves the students taking their comprehensive math exam, just as the bombing begins. Yesmine bravely attempts to focus the kids’ attention on their work, in order to provide them with a distraction, and yet, it is futile. The kids are aware. Eventually, when they are forced to evacuate, one child overhears that the crossings are closed and his response is to point out to his friend that, “there won’t be school tomorrow.” It’s this push pull between sternly grave and childlike that offers 1982 the ability to be as poignant as it is. On one hand it recognizes the capacity to see a dark world through children’s eyes, and yet, it never infantilizes those eyes. This is ultimately solid debut that will undoubtedly break your heart.
- Release Date: 9/11/2019