LIMBO (2021)

1h 44m / R / Comedy


Omar (played with pitch-perfect melancholy by Amir El-Masry) is a gifted young musician, separated from his Syrian family and burdened by his grandfather’s oud (a gorgeously engraved stringed instrument) that he has carried all the way from his homeland. He is stuck on a remote Scottish island, awaiting the fate of his asylum request and attending eccentric cultural orientation lessons and bare-bones seminars in job-hunting and Western social norms.

His Afghan roommate, and fellow refugee Farhad (an hilariously deadpan Vikash Bhai) nudges Omar toward picking up his instrument again, in part so he can become his “agent-slash-manager.” Their friendship, and their banter with classmates – Nigerian brothers Abedi (Kwabena Ansah) and Wasef (Ola Orebiyi) who endearingly argue about the future with as much passion as they fight about the latest episode of Friends – reveal LIMBO as a funny and poignant cross-cultural satire that subtly sews together the hardship and hope of the refugee experience.

Reflecting the complexity of the movement of people across borders has been a long-held passion for director and writer Ben Sharrock (Pikadero), who spent time working for an NGO in refugee camps in southern Algeria and living in Damascus in 2009 shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. There, he formed a network of friends whose personal stories inspired the film.

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