Category: Films

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

The Hollywood Reporter

A Syrian Love Story

A Syrian Love Story is another remarkable chapter in the English director’s journalistic forays into the Middle East’s hottest hot spots

Here again McAllister plays the role of the (mostly) off-screen reporter who is so thoroughly embedded in the life of his subjects that he seems like a member of the family. Though at first the story is told through Amer’s sad eyes and his halting but poetic English, Raghda eventually is given a voice and emerges as an extraordinary woman in her own right, torn — as Amer perceptively remarks — between being Che Guevara and a mother.

See the complete review by Deborah Young in The Hollywood Reporter

The Independent

A Syrian Love Story

Heartbreaking portrait of a marriage unravelling

The couple, who met in prison, became the subjects of what first seemed like a conventional political documentary. Then, after Raghda’s release, this remarkable film turned into something else. Shot over five years, it became a heartbreaking portrait of a marriage unravelling. It is testament to the trust the subjects place in McAllister that they allow him to document their most intimate, vulnerable moments.

See the full review by Geoffrey McNab on The Independent website

Screenings

Theatre screenings for A Syrian Love Story are as follows, with more to be added…

Please go to asyrianlovestory.com/screenings for more up-to-the-minute screening information.

Sheffield Doc/Fest Award

A Syrian Love Story has won the coveted Grand Jury award at the Sheffield Doc/Fest… Grand Jury member Ruby Chen said: “The Jury were enamoured by this Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love, taking place against an ever-changing and tumultuous backdrop. Delivering unusual gender portraits it explores vulnerabilities, looking at the concept of belonging, providing a unique and intimate portrait of disillusionment.”

Read all about it on the BBC News website

Docs On Screens

Sean McAllister on his Syrian Labour of Love

British documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister is known for launching himself into foreign lands, often in the midst of war, and finding unforgettable personal stories. Whether it’s via a piano player in Baghdad, a postal worker in Japan, Sean’s own “minders” in Iraq, these are stories of ordinary people – though always strong characters – struggling to survive in an often unkind world. Sean’s latest film, A Syrian Love Story, is perhaps his best yet…. See the full report by Carol Nahra on the Docs On Screens website