In Limbo, a young Syrian musician comes to a Scottish island awaiting asylum. The Ben Sharrock-directed comedy-drama starring Amir El-Masry premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was met with positive reviews, including one from us. Now, Limbo is headed to theaters, and ahead of its April release, you can check out a trailer below.
Nominated for two BAFTA awards for Best British Film and Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, Limbo follows Omar, a Syrian refugee who ends up on a remote Scottish island while awaiting asylum. Here’s a synopsis:
Limbo is a wry and poignant observation of the refugee experience, set on a fictional remote Scottish island where a group of new arrivals await the results of their asylum claims. It centers on Omar (Amir El-Masry), a young Syrian musician who is burdened by his grandfather’s oud, which he has carried all the way from his homeland.
Writer-director Ben Sharrock “spent time working for an NGO in refugee camps in southern Algeria and living in Damascus in 2009 shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. There, he formed a network of friends whose personal stories inspired the film.” When asked about the inspiration for the film, Sharrock said:
“It started out with a strong personal desire to make a film that, broadly speaking, would touch on the subject of the “refugee crisis” by focusing on the individual human experience of a Syrian asylum seeker. I graduated in Arabic and Politics, and as part of the degree, I lived in Damascus the year before the civil war broke out. At university, I wrote my dissertation on Arab and Muslim representations in American cinema and TV. When the “refugee crisis” became very prevalent in the media, I started to question the dehumanising representations of refugees – a faceless mass that was being demonised or pitied. My producer, Irune Gurtubai, and I did some work in refugee camps with an NGO in southern Algeria, which coincided with a research trip for an unmade short film. Our project focused on the identity of being a refugee. After that, I set out to write the screenplay with a big list of things that I wanted to avoid – sensationalising the subject and using a Western character as a vehicle to tell this story were at the top of the list.”
The cast includes Amir El-Masry (The Night Manager), Vikash Bhai, Ola Orebiyi, Kwabena Ansah, Sidse Babett Knudsen, and Kais Nashif (Tel Aviv on Fire). Focus Features will release LIMBO in theaters on April 30, 2021.
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