“Limbo” filmed with oud – Liberation

In his remarkable debut film, Ben Sharrock follows a Syrian refugee seeking asylum on a Scottish island, hiking. A jerky comedy that makes room for the absurd.

All movies must have titles Limbo. That is, limbo, the no-man’s land between life and nothingness, the desert island with abstract boundaries, the bare place – and the desert of waiting itself. Limbo is housing for the innocent and for the spectators. On both sides of the screen, all beings are temporarily without identity. Each one tries to reconstruct the story from which it emerges (here Syria, Afghanistan, Ghana, Nigeria), placed in the middle of nowhere and determined an unlikely fate in the line of the horizon. Limbotoday, is no longer the title of John Sayles’ major 1999 film, but of Scotsman Ben Sharrock’s remarkable debut film.

If it were to be defined only by its subject, namely migrants, refugees, in this case it is in the way The party by Blake Edwards with Peter Sellers was also in an absurd shift a comedy about moving up with clutter, about the stranger in constant overhang, or as Robinson Crusoe is also a fable from limbo. Does not at all follow doloristic naturalistic fictions, contemporary “movies to be made”. Limbo is actually much closer All the others are named Ali of Fassbinder, or of the man without a past of Kaurismäki than of anything else. We discover a film that primarily deals with fiction, scenery and staging, including the scenography and the existential miniature parade – from the first scene, a dance class “suitable” for the small forbidden and diligent group of asylum seekers – digs into the cold humor and dark mood during color play.

companions in accident

Omar is dead, or as if he is dead. A dead man, a Syrian refugee on this missing island off the coast of Scotland. A dead person on loan because he is in limbo and awaiting his fate, depending on invisible authorities, because he is an oud player – or “a musician who does not play music is dead”. First hit with a plastered hand on a fracture that we would think is mainly geo-seismic, and then unable to get to his instrument beyond making the strings squeak, Omar is in a state of shock (a state of exile), sounded, he no longer plays. The film will wait for the lament of the Eastern instrument to resonate again in the land of the bagpipes. Meanwhile, the undead Omar hopes for his still possible redemption, a sleepwalker but alert zombie. He wanders idle on the island with his comrades in misfortune, Farhad, fan of Freddie Mercury, Wasef, who dreams of his dream of a deceased football player, and Abedi, who has no illusions about what exile fate wills for him.

The dry island is permeated by fleeting lights with the wind, and the heath of diffractions of snow and suns in landscapes close to Edvard Munchs. The airy space around the characters, planted there in a 1:33 frame, plays with figures of related isolation and isolation, in back and forth of the surrounding open air and enclosed interior, and heals the cantons’ containment effect, meeting or party rooms, mini market, empty transit rooms, like the large spaces of the asylum with the dimensions of the island that hold them captive. Sharrock knows how to film cubes, which stage the space in the boundaries and the small housing boxes. From the smallest cubism, the telephone box where Omar makes long phone calls to his parents who have been stranded in Turkey, to the largest air cube, an icy landscape in the middle of which the film will dig, eerie, the grave of a friend.

Subdued terror

Of the war, of the wars, we will perceive only expressions of astonishment, the silences, the echoes, the fears. On the islet, the four corners of the globe coexist in juxtaposed figures alien to each other. This indirect curiosity of “the other of the other” Where “strangers strangers among themselves” cements the small community, changing and soft as the brightness. What does this corner of lost land send back with subdued horror, loss of reason, echoes of improvised or ghostly brethren, this insane silence of the spirits makes one wonder where the music lurks, since the ouden is also silent in its box? The music resounds in these snow and grass fields under the wind, of the breaking waves, the words and the ridiculous lessons, the comedy scenes, of ordinary cultures, of Friends to Rambo, from Schwarzenegger’s nationality to Oum Kalthoum’s fame. It is the exiled song of exile. In limbo, it also means, like this saying, that Omar with the beautiful sad smile tells of the unlikely harvest of the apricot: in your dreams.

Limbo by Ben Sharrock, with Amir El-Masry, Vikash Bhai … (1h44).

Leave a Comment