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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Set in a fictional Scottish Village, Limbo captures the lives of a handful of refugees waiting to be granted asylum with a personable yet poignant confidence that speaks to the strength of the voices both on and off camera. The wild beauty of the Outer Hebrides is showcased whilst being the place where a group of Middle Eastern and West African men endure a half-life existence as they await the results of their requests for asylum. The focus on single men was a deliberate creative decision. Pointing the lens at men who have been separated from wives, children and other family members draws stark attention to a group that have been viewed with most intense suspicion by Western society.
The film is the result of the experiences of a young Scottish filmmaker who spent some time working in the refugee camps in Syria before the country descended into its appalling civil war. Writer-director Ben Sharrock got the idea for the main character of his film while attending an oud concert in Damascus, and things took off from there.
Limbo will immediately catch some audiences off guard with its deadpan humour and personality which are not always found in stories that also carry such a pertinent political weight. Without reducing its deeper messages or perspectives; the film is a poignant and intelligent blend of comedy and drama. The charm of the characters feels authentic and speaks to a deeper truth within this group which is often exclusively portrayed strictly in a more harrowing sense.
The film is simultaneously a tremendously fun experience while also being hauntingly thought provoking in the best of ways. This is a wonderful comedy that savours its remote environment whilst keeping its subjects at the centre of the story. Relevant and important, Limbo demands to be seen.