Scottish writer-director Ben Sharrock’s slow-burn narrative embued with both melancholic mood and lighter moments has won festival awards and warm reviews since its Toronto Film Festival premiere.
On Scotland’s remote island of North Uist, surrounded by gale-force winds and stormy seas, gifted musician Omar (Amir El-Masry) and his fellow Syrian asylum seekers endure puzzling cultural-awareness lessons from an oddball pair of locals. Awaiting news of their claims for refugee status, they otherwise spend much of their time queuing to call loved ones on the island’s only payphone or binge-watching Friends. Keeping his grandfather’s oud, a treasured musical instrument from his homeland, close to his side while wandering the bleak, thistly landscape, Omar questions his decision to leave his homeland..
Drawing on stories from Sharrock’s own friends in Damascus, Limbo imbues its characters, a group of lost souls awaiting both visas and freedom from war, with dignity and individuality. Recalling the quiet, occasionally surreal absurdism of the films of Palestinian actor-director Elia Suleiman and Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki, here’s a sincere and perceptive film about the internal and external reckonings forced upon refugees that also has a wider resonance for audiences in these recent socially distanced times.
“A film as sweet as it is sad, as pertinent as it is absurd, Limbo is an experience where not much seems to happen but where little things mean the world"Alex Godfrey, Empire Magazine
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Free entry to BFS passholders 2019/20 using code supplied by BFS. Limited public tickets will be available at normal box office prices, purchase in advance.
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