Preview: Limbo

classified 12A PS

Please note: This was screened in July 2021

Ben Sharrock
Kenneth Collard, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Amir El-Masry
103 mins, Partially Subtitled, 2020, UK
Primary language

Ben Sharrock’s critically adored Limbo is a wry, funny and poignant cross-cultural satire that subtly sews together the hardship and hope of the refugee experience. Set on a fictional remote Scottish island, it follows a group of new arrivals as they await the results of their asylum claims.

Surrounded by gale-force winds and stormy seas, gifted musician Omar (Amir El-Masry) and his fellow asylum seekers endure puzzling cultural-awareness lessons from an oddball pair of locals. Awaiting news of their refugee status claims, they otherwise spend much of their time queuing to call loved ones on the island’s only payphone, or heatedly (and hilariously) debating the relationship between Ross and Rachel while binge-watching Friends. Carrying his grandfather’s oud with him, which due to a broken arm he cannot currently play, and wandering the desolate, thistly landscape – all potent metaphors for his purgatorial state – Omar fears for his brother, who is still in Syria fighting, and questions his own decision to leave.