WEEKEND FILM RECOMMENDATIONS

I’ve been camped up in bed all week with the second round of the global punch, so I’ve had to postpone all work, but at least I’ve been able to watch some great movies.
 
Those of you who have followed my previous film recommendations will know, it won’t be Hollywood romcoms, and today it’s some really dark – but incredibly powerful films.

They’re all really good, they’re all really important and they’re all about refugees.
 
First out is a film I’ve been meaning to see for a long time, The Swimmers.
 
The Swimmers review, Netflix

THE SWIMMERS (Netflix)


This is an incredible true story about two Syrian sisters, Sara and Yusra Mardini, who flee their country to try and reach Germany.
The film takes us back to Sara and Yusra’s life in Damascus before and during the war, establishing their family life, their characters and the intensifying war.

Growing up in a family of swimmers, their father being their coach, the sisters train every day, despite the war getting more and more present. Several of their friends are killed, more people flee, and when the swimming pool is bombed while Yusra is in it, it’s decided that the two girls should leave the country.

With the relationship between the sisters being the thread throughout the film, it’s also the difference between them that makes it glow. They both have incredibly strong willpower and determination, and this will not just lead them the way, but also tear them apart.

From a film perspective, it is in fact a typical Hollywood film, it doesn’t shy the cringe or the crunch, it takes the lead from victim to victory, but because it’s based on a true story, it all feels justifiable and acceptable.
The story depicts the sisters’ journey, but also the horrifying situation nearly 100 million forcibly displaced people around the world are facing on a daily basis, to try and find peace.

GEGEN DEN STROM

*not on general release

If you’ve seen The Swimmers film, you’ll know that Sara wanted to go to Lesbos to support other refugees, which she did. She got training and was working hard for some time to help refugees, but suddenly she got arrested by Greek authorities. After spending 100 days in prison, she was released on bail. She still awaits the trial, under a threat of 25 years of jail.

Gegen den Strom (Against the stream) is the documentary about Sara Mardini. It’s currently on tour in Germany. I’ve requested information on how we can organise a screening here in Brighton… watch this space!

 

Matar, film cover, WaterBear

MATAR (Waterbear) A WaterBear original

Watching The Swimmers also led to film number three, Matar. This is a brilliant short film produced by WaterBear, featuring Ahmed Malek (playing the cousin in The Swimmers).
It shows how life of some determined and very capable asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants is turned rotten by the current immigration system of the UK.
The First Drop of Rain, WaterBear film

THE FIRST DROP OF RAIN (WaterBear)

Last but not least, we have a behind-the-scenes film of Matar. This film features Hiba Noor, an asylum seeker living in Britain, invited to create sketches of the scenes while filming, giving everything a powerful double dimension, erasing the borders between reality and fiction.
 
Now it’s ironically time to shut down for Earth Hour!
Enjoy your weekend and the films – and do let me know what you think please!
Mi 💕
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