Film Club Review
Every Monday, 12 young film lovers head to our cinema under the stars at Lotterywest Films to take in the best international cinema has to offer. As aspiring cinephiles, we've asked them for their thoughts on the flicks.
Read on to see what Apu Karajagi had to say about this week's film, Limbo.
Portrays the refugee experience with humour and subtlety
Limbo, written and directed by Ben Sharrock, is a dark comedy that delivers a heartfelt take on the refugee experience in the UK. Set in a fictional village island in Scotland, the story follows a Syrian refugee and former musician named Omar (depicted by BIIFA-nominated best actor Amir El-Masry). The film simply depicts Omar’s experiences with three other refugees, Farhad, Wasef, and Abedi, who share accommodation on a grim, cold, and sparse island awaiting a verdict about their asylum seeker status and subsequent future.
The setting of the film adequately delivers the sense of purgatory the asylum seekers feel when seeking refuge. The film utilizes symbolism to represent the long and harsh journey of seeking asylum through shots of the landscape of the Scottish island, with its long roads and harsh climate.
Providing a comedic take on these experiences and doing this with sensitivity rather than slapstick humour is no mean feat, and the film does this effectively.
The audience can truly experience the characters’ struggle with their sense of identity. Omar is seen carrying an oud the entire film, a traditional Syrian musical instrument, and is one of the central metaphorical threads of identity in Limbo.
The oud itself represents his home in Syria, and his refusal to play the instrument since his arrival in Scotland represents his desire to assimilate to his new surroundings.
A strong merit of the film is how uniquely it portrays the refugee experience, with humour and subtlety, compared to other films that explore the same issue.
This uniquely shot, quirky film was nominated at the 2021 BAFTA Film Awards, for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut. It was also selected for the Cannes and San Sebastian film festivals, and named as a BAFTA Breakthrough in 2020. Don't miss this highly regarded movie.