An unexpected friendship forms when a jaded people smuggler reluctantly takes an 12-year-old Syrian refugee under his wing.

The subject of asylum seekers is an emotive one.  To make it the central theme of your first feature is a bold and courageous move from director Abbe Hassan.  12-year-old Amal (Jwan Alqatami) is fleeing the brutal oppression of the Syrian regime and wants to travel to her family in Sweden.  Currently she is trapped in Turkey.  A chance encounter with people smuggler Sam (Ashraf Barhom) provides her with someone who is willing to take her to her relatives.  And so begins a most unusual odyssey across Europe as these two people from different sides of the immigration issue form a tender bond while dealing with their own inner journeys. For Amal, this is a frightening trip into the unknown, for Sam, it offers a chance of redemption.

As powerful as Sally El Hosanini’s recent feature The Swimmer yet with a friendship at the centre which evokes the relationship of Luc Bresson’s Leon.

“Jwan Algatami swiftly slots herself into that category of scene-stealing children (and animals) that it’s so dangerous to work with. Thankfully, the chemistry between the two actors works wonderfully”

– Cineuropa

  Sun 17th Sept – 8:20pm
  102 mins
Country: Sweden
Language: Arabic w/subs
Year: 2023
Genre: Drama
Recommended: 15+

Director: Abbe Hassan

Cast: Jwan Alqatami, Khaled Alqatami, Aliki. Andriomenou


Newsletter SIGN UP

©  |  Cheltenham International Film Festival  |  2023