Humanising the refugee experience: Interviews with Ben Sharrock, director of Limbo, and star Amir El-Masry
As writer-director Ben Sharrock himself puts it, Limbo is an “absurdist, deadpan comedy about a group of asylum seekers.” But it’s not like any film about refugees many will have seen before.
This group of Syrians are awaiting news from the UK Home Office about their applications to remain in the country in a remote Scottish town. Unable to work or do much else to integrate into their new community, they are stuck, both literally and metaphorically, in limbo. As one of the motley crew at their bedsit wryly points out, it’s not Guantanamo, but as the weeks, months and years tick by, the half-life they are each forced to live plays out like its own kind of slow-burn torture, albeit cut through with moments of joy and connections as unlikely friendships form.
Diving headfirst behind the headlines and shocking statistics to produce something both intensely intimate, while also comedically surreal, Limbo is an astonishingly original, bone-dry funny and touching reframing of the refugee experience.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking to Sharrock about how his time spent living in refugee camps in Syria motivated him to tell this story, the influences for his approach to filmmaking and how humour can be a powerful way to access difficult subject matter.
We also spoke to the film’s star Amir El-Masry, who plays Omar, as part of the British Independent Film Awards. The actor spoke about why he wanted to work with Sharrock on the film and how he hopes it can bridge the gap between East and West.
Limbo is released in select cinemas on 30th July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Limbo here: