Category: 2015

3rd Best UK Film 2015

The Guardian: The 50 best films of 2015 in the UK – No 3: A Syrian Love Story

Continuing our countdown of the best movies released in the UK this year, we applaud the heartbreaking story of a couple whose relationship disintegrates as they flee the horrors of Syria

The tragic urgency of Sean McAllister’s superlative documentary A Syrian Love Story has been renewed by events, now that the British Parliament has given the go-ahead for RAF Tornadoes to join bombing raids on Isis positions in Syria. How many refugees will be created by this? Will the UK be liable to take in more refugees in proportion to our participation in bombing? This is the new political context for McAllister’s uniquely powerful film.

See the full article by Peter Bradshaw on The Guardian website

DIFF 2015

Cinema Without Borders

Dubai International Film Festival 2015

*This video is in Arabic… The interview with Sean McAllister begins at approx 9:45mins

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City Times

Directors Matt Brown, Sean McAllister talk films

So what makes a story good enough to leave the pages of a book, to take the conversations of ordinary people from reality to film? We spoke to the two directors to get their insights on the process of filmmaking.

Matt Brown is the director of The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. The film tells the real story of mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. From living in poverty in Madras, India, he earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy. The story analyses relationship between Ramanujan and Hardy and their different viewpoints of the world.

Sean McAllister is a documentary film maker whose latest film A Syrian Love Story has been getting much acclaim. Filmed over 5 years, the story charts the compelling relationship of Ragahd and Amir who met in prison and fell in love. Sean guides the viewers through their story as the Syrian revolution is on the brink of eruption while the family escapes to Europe and their marriage, family and love is tested to its limits.

See the full article on the City Times website

Film of the Week

A Syrian Love Story

McAllister here conjures a mosaic of footage which can be variously read as hidden-camera investigation, socio-political treatise, fly-on-the-wall family drama, proto-feminist case study, and (most affectingly) child’s-eye view of adult trauma.

This is a profoundly moving account of two love stories: that between the film’s central couple, Amer and Raghda, who are torn apart by imprisonment and exile; the other being their love for Syria, which casts a long shadow over their lives, their marriage and their children.

See the complete review by Mark Kermode in the Guardian website

Morning Star

A Syrian Love Story

This heart-wrenching film gives an idea of the human cost of seeking asylum in Western Europe

AS WE continue to witness the worst refugee crisis since WWII, this powerful documentary by Sean McAllister puts a human face on the issue as it recounts the personal cost to one Syrian family. When the British film-maker first met Amer in 2009 in Syria, just before the Arab spring, his wife Raghda was a political prisoner while he was caring for their four sons alone. Filmed over the following five years, the film tells the poignant story of how they were torn apart by events and the untold pressures which affected their family and marriage.

See the complete review by Maria Duarte in the Morning Star

The Times

A Syrian Love Story

Sean McAllister’s intimate, achingly poignant documentary couldn’t be more timely.

A Syrian Love Story follows the fates of Amer, his wife Raghda and their three sons. When McAllister first encounters the Syrian family, before the flames of the Arab spring have begun to flicker, Amer is raising his children alone and Raghda is in prison. Her crime? Writing a book about her romance with her husband, which
started behind bars, 20 years before, when they were both incarcerated as political prisoners.

See the complete 4 Star review (subscription required) by Wendy Ide in The Times

Time Out

A Syrian Love Story

Intimate and moving doc, shot over five years, following one family fleeing Syria as refugees

‘A Syrian Love Story’ presents us first with the gnawing anxiety of life under the ruthless Al-Assad regime, then the fresh challenges of a fractious, painful exile where damaged minds take time to heal, before we finally see the household become distant observers to the destruction of their homeland and the deaths of many friends.

See the full review by Trevor Johnston in Time Out [London]

HeyUGuys

A Syrian Love Story

A wonderful, powerful piece of filmmaking

For anyone who has felt outraged by the dehumanisation of refugees across the media, A Syrian Love Story is a welcome tonic. Filmed over 5 years, the film documents the relationship between Raghda and Amer. Ragdha is released from prison after serving time for her activism against the Assad regime in Syria, and this is where the film begins.

See the full review by Nia Childs on the HeyUGuys website