Premièring at last years London Film Festival, this labour of love movie took documentary film-maker, Bruce Goodison, three years to create. Heading to the refugees and listening to the stories of real asylum seekers, he crafted their stories and enthused them into endearing film; Leave to Remain. What’s more, Goodison guided these real life teenagers, who had fled to the UK for safety, and allowed them to learn the intricate details of the arts.
Honing in their skill and empathising with their stories, Leave To Remain is the product of a mixture of scripted stories and natural charismas from the teenager; a semi documentary film that seems vital for the political climate of late and it finally hits cinemas this weekend.
Stripping away the script for most of the film and allowing the stories to come through is an admirable from Goodison. Indeed, in some parts it works and the natural charisma and personality of these real life survivors comes forefront. It’s not just about the tragic story, and that is where the strength lies. Goodison allows the humanity to come forward, showcasing them as people rather than the numbers on some BNP or UKIP sheet. Played strongly by our leads, Yasmin Mwanza (Zidzidi) Zarrien Masieh (abdul) and Noof Ousellam (Omar,) there is not only talent but grace and benevolence shifting through the misfortune.
Though the focus teeters of the conflict between Omar and Abdul, Zidzidi’s plight and Masieh’s performance is really enigmatic here. She delicate handles adjusting to her new surroundings whilst still trembling from the pain of the past. Leave to Remain may be shaky but it is moving. There is some powerful material here that is an indictment to how important immigration can be for victims of war (or how important immigration is full stop.) It never reaches it’s full potential but there is emotion bubbling underneath this drama that is worth a watch.
Leave to Remain is out this Friday