Jun 1, 2023
Max Pemberton, Mohamed Grayaa, Kaouther Dhaoudi, Eleanore Crowe, Bairem Jabri
An unfortunate boy dreams of a better life.
A family lives in an isolated house in the countryside. The family consists of Youssef (Grayaa), his young son Rayan (Jabri) and Youssef's wife Dalila (Dhaoudi) and her teenage son Omar (Pemberton). The household is poor and Youssef disapproves of Omar, due to his antisocial behaviour. In a bid to find some solace and escape the harsh reality of his situation, Omar imagines that he is in a better place.
This emotional short drama places the viewer in the shoes of Omar, a youth who is isolated from the world due to his circumstances. His form of escape is to remove pictures from magazines and glue the cutouts on a wall in his room, subsequently being influenced by the images he collects to create his own world, a place where things are better for him.
The film begins by introducing the family (who is living in poverty), paying particular emphasis on Youssef and Omar. Youssef is cruel and indifferent towards Omar and Omar is initially presented as a sort of mysterious character, with his face out of view. Once Omar retreats to his room, the narrative proceeds to alternate between his imaginative world and the family home, constantly jumping from fantasy to reality. Omar's dreams consist of him being tied to a chair, in a large train station, from which he breaks free and appears to be meeting a young woman (Crowe). His dream is filled with elements that seem to provide an insight into his thoughts, as being tied to a chair could represent the fact that he feels trapped and the station and the woman seem to signify that he yearns to brake free and travel like a train and find romance.
Repetition is present here, with certain words being uttered again and again and certain brief scenes repeatedly shown. The purpose of the repetitions appears to be to point out the constant circle of events that Omar goes through every day.
Pemberton portrays the main character Omar as a saddened individual but who also has great inner strength and hope within him. Omar is living a difficult life and uses his imagination as a means to escape, even temporarily. Grayaa's character could be described as the antagonist, a mean stepfather who ignores Omar and shows affection towards his own son and plays him quite convincingly. Recognition also goes to Dhaoudi for her performance as Omar's loving mother.
Kthiri does an amazing job with the directing and creates some wonderful establishing shots and Christian Radclyffe makes a superb contribution with the creative editing that includes fast cutting. The slow motion sequences look great and the beautiful and sentimental music by Ilyess Blagui and Khalil Seibi is one of the best aspects of the film and contains outstanding piano melodies.
This story is told through the perspective of a young boy who attempts to deal with the hardships of his life by utilising his imagination. It explores inner struggles, inner strength, family values and the importance of support and is a very moving viewing, with heavy drama and an emotional plot twist.