• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:03/09/2023


Ashraf Barhom and Jwan Alqatami. Photo: B-Reel Films

12-year-old Amal (Jwan Alqatami), who’s been separated from her family, is a refugee from Aleppo who forms an unexpected bond with a smuggler (Ashraf Barhom) who reckons he might benefit financially from helping her. In his feature directing debut, Abbe Hassan was inspired by his own background as a Lebanese fugitive; his experiences as a child during his escape to Sweden from Beirut informs this gripping drama. There are plenty of thrills as Sam needs to rely on contacts and his wits as they move through several countries; a father-daughter relationship develops, albeit reluctantly. The ending may be abrupt, but its open nature rings true. 

2023-Sweden. 102 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Anna-Klara Carlsten, Mattias Nohrborg, Olle Wirenhed. Directed by Abbe Hassan. Screenplay: Kristoffer Cras, Abbe Hassan. Cast: Ashraf Barhom (Sam), Jwan Alqatami (Amal), Isa Aoifia (Karim), Khaled Alqatami.

Last word: “Syria is close to Lebanon, we speak the same language, and I have relatives there, so I know it well. I did toy around with the thought of an unspecified place but ultimately decided against it. These events from Syria in 2015-16 are so well documented: people have filmed a lot, and those I met through my research showed me their footage. I could easily relate my story to theirs, not least to the warmth among them, the fact that despite their ‘victimhood’, they kept their spirits high and helped each other out. I really wanted this sense of humanity towards others to come through in the film.” (Hassan, Cineuropa)

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