After traveling to London to check on their missing children in the wake of the 2005 terror attack on the city, two strangers come to discover their respective children had been living together at the time of the attacks. Written by
The tenth anniversary of the 7 July bombings has led to a flurry of programming including the somewhat disappointing and emotionally manipulative A Song for Jenny shown on BBC television.
Rachid Bouchareb who made the award winning Days of Glory has made this curious low budget film just a few years after the atrocities which is a mixture of English, French and Arabic.
Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) is a hard working farmer in Guernsey. After the July bombings she tries to contact her daughter who lives in London but she does not return her calls. Worried she makes her way to London and finds out that she is living in a flat in a predominantly Arab area.
Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate) is an African Muslim working in a forest in France. He has come to London to look for his son who his family back in Africa cannot contact. Ousmane knows little about his son had he had to leave his family behind to work in France. At one point we discover that he believes that his son might had been one of the perpetrators of the London bombings.
Ousmane sees a photo of Elisabeth's daughter and realises that he has a picture of her and his son together and contacts her. Elisabeth is wary and distrustful of Ousmane and calls the police. It looks like the son and daughter were living together and her daughter was also learning Arabic. Elisabeth could not understand why she would be learning Arabic,hanging with a black African boy and living in a French-Arab area of London. Its all confusing to her.
Eventually Elisabeth realises that they are both on the same quest and team up together to look for their respective children. It seems that there is hope that their children are alive and went abroad on the day of the bombings.
Sotigui Kouyate gives Ousmane a quiet dignity, the actor was frail when he made the film but looks imposing with his big presence and dreadlocks. Brenda Blethyn specialises in playing frumps these days and here she very much hits the mark as someone who has grown in an environment a world away from multiculturalism of London.
When she comes to London she is confused especially as she tries to fathom how her daughter ended up in such an alien environment and felt comfortable with it.
The fact she comes from Guernsey helps get over the language barrier as she can communicate with Ousmane in French. Francis Magee plays a police inspector who speaks French in a bizarre Irish/Manx accent.
You always suspect that the film will inflict a sucker punch to the duo. It is just a shame that it took place in such a poor setting of some basement corridor full of pipes that was supposedly a police station.
It is a slow burning and thoughtful piece of two people looking for a glimmer of amongst despair and then dealing with their despair. Its simple premise is a big plus as you get pulled in with their search for their loved ones.
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