More Films For Freedom: Nowhere (2020) A Review

Three new cross-cultural collaborations exploring LGBTIQ+ experience have been commissioned by the British Council, BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, and BFI NETWORK premiere for free on the British Council Arts YouTube channel and BFI Player.

Director: Christopher Manning

Screenwriter: Christopher Manning

Starring: Morad Hassan, Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh

Genre: Drama, Short

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A young Palestinian woman crosses the Israeli border illegally to find her long-lost brother, who she hopes will be her ticket to a new life far from the West Bank. When she discovers the truth behind his exiled existence, her dreams of a happy reunion are shattered, and she must face her next steps alone. – From IMDB

For such a short film, this one really did pack a hell of an emotional punch.  From what I understand, Azhar is trying to find an escape from her very traditional upbringing, and a forced marriage that she has no interest in taking part in.  She hopes that her brother, who has escaped to Israel, can help her, but she discovers that the real reason he ran away from home was because he was homosexual, and he and his boyfriend are planning to leave for a new life in Germany.  I expected a somewhat happy reunion for Azhar and her brother, and while I didn’t get that, I liked that the film didn’t play into what the viewer would expect to see. 

I expected her to find out her brothers secret and they would have a redemptive conversation.  He would give her the confidence to escape her traditional homelife and start a life on her own terms, and she would forgive him for running away from home.  Instead, he avenue they take the film down is probably a much more realistic view of what would really happen.  They argue about his decisions and he tells her she has to make her own decisions in life, and in floods of tears she returns to the Palestinian border.

This narrative has a much more emotional effect on the viewer and also gives a clearer view on what lives for people in these situations would really be like rather than glamourizing it for film audiences.  It is only a very short film, it will take no time at all and give you a peak into the struggles of people whose lifestyles are frowned upon in their communities.  A great quick watch for Pride Month!

Nowhere is currently available to stream for free on the British Council Arts YouTube channel and BFI Player.

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