Leave to Remain Film Reviews

So I saw ‘Leave to Remain’ last night, at The Ritzy Brixton as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2013, it was shown as part of the festivals Debate selection “Riveting films that amplify, scrutinise, argue and surprise.” I won’t give you my opinions on the film, as they would honestly be completely biases having worked on the production last winter. You can read a selection of reviews from below.

Flickering Myth – (3 STARS) “…a startling and enlightening tale of people putting all their hope and faith into a system that isn’t always ready to help…The actors themselves should also be given a lot of credit. Each of them portrays their character with blunt honesty and impressive skill which, given that they had no experience in acting before, is remarkable.”  Written by Ozzy Armstrong

Time Out  –  “The film’s strength is its natural, unshowy performances, many of them given by teenagers who have themselves suffered at the hands of the immigration authorities. ” Written by Tom Huddleston

Omar - Noof Ousellam

Omar – Noof Ousellam

The Up Coming – (4 STARS) “It’s a well-worn trope that storytellers use lies to tell the truth, whereas politicians use the truth to tell lies. If it’s true, Leave to Remain should be compulsory viewing in Whitehall, as this powerfully even-handed feature film tackles almost every taboo subject in the immigration debate….it’s an engaging story replete with humour, pathos and a stonking lead performance from Noof Ousellam as Omar…..cinematographer Felix Wiedermann deserves credit. And everything is backed up by a delightfully underplayed soundtrack from the Mercury Prize-winning AltJ.” Written by Nigel Booth

CINE-VUE – (3 STARS) “Boasting an original soundtrack from Mercury Prize winner Alt-J and the mercurial presence of Toby Jones, Goodison has certainly pulled out all the stops…Commendable for giving children a voice and approaching a serious issue in a unique and intriguing fashion, Leave to Remain is a film that demands to be seen” Written by Patrick Gamble

Next Projection –  “Many contemporary British filmmakers have for the most part ignored this infinitely sad actuality and Bruce Goodison succeeds in drawing attention to a troubling and upsetting national matter….Using both his prowess as an established documentary filmmaker and narrative storyteller, Bruce Goodison delivers a powerful and informative message concerning the unpleasant reality of the lives of asylum seekers….As well as a considerate and perceptive script,Leave To Remain is also carried by fantastic performances from the three leads. The young thespians deliver authentic, genuine and touching performances that each find a way to the audience’s heart….Furthermore, film veteran Toby Jones in a supporting role rounds off the incredible flow of talent that Leave To Remain fully encapsulates to complement the lead performances beautifully.” Written by Zoe De Pasquale

Abdul and 'Uncle Nigel' -Massieh Zarrien and Toby Jones

Abdul and ‘Uncle Nigel’ -Massieh Zarrien and Toby Jones

The above image is taken by Kev Williams  who also shot behind the scenes of the short film ‘Inertia’, which I produced.

One of my favourite parts of last night was when Noof Ousellam answered his first question during the Q&A after the film’s screening. Noof plays Omar, an afghan who is trying to gain his leave to remain in the UK, Omar slips in and out of languages through out the film, and when he speaks english has a strong middleeastern accent. Noof however is scottish, VERY scottish, and the shock and delight of the audience as he spoke his first words, is something that only a screening and a Q&A could bring. One audience member even asked him “How much are you from afghanistan?” to which Noof replied “Both my parents are Moroccan.” You could just here the ripple of shock and amazement in the audience, and someone sitting in front of me just said “He nailed it, every part of it. And that was the acting, let alone everything else”

You can view the promo for ‘Leave to Remain’ HERE.


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