In the 21st Century, the refugee crisis has caused a chasm of debate, a humanitarian disaster is underway as asylum seekers escape their war-torn homes in search of safety and security. However, once these refugees manage to find new pastures, they are posed with the problem of gaining legality within their new homes and the constant threat of those who are angry with their presence.
Ghabe is a weighty love-story set in the lush greenery of Sweden’s coniferous forests, as a young Syrian refugee, Monir (Adel Darwish) and his uncle Farid (Ahmed Fadel) are getting used to their new surroundings whilst the Swedish Immigration Board decide if the two are eligible to be granted a residence permit. The problem arises when an altercation between Monir and some locals jeopardises his chances of legality.
Ghabe’s underlying message of acceptance is in a world of hate beautifully compelling, Monir’s painful past is hidden behind a thick wall of evergreen forest, a symbol of the young-mans uncertain future. The film seems to fit in this state of purgatory for its characters, their worries seem trivial as they evade the locals, fearing the unknown.
It’s not until Monir encounters a young Swedish woman you see him open up. As a romance between the two rapidly develops, the young refugee reveals his past, and as his new love, Moa (Nathalié Williamsdotter) seemingly assimilates within Manir’s refugee household. Alas, Moa’s xenophobic family reveals the true underbelly of this hard-hitting drama, the problematic and racist stereotypes of the ‘other’.
Visually breath-taking, its late-summer forest colour scheme and intricately crafted shots make this film a feast for the eyes, companioned with a haunting albeit optimistic classical soundtrack, Ghabe delivers an audio-visual theme which complements its serious and urgent tone perfectly. Simply put, this film looks and sounds incredible.
An emotional trek through the turbulent mind of a young refugee, Ghabe is beautifully heartfelt yet devastating. It’s a poignant yet important feature which maturely and tastefully deals with one of the most important yet complex problems of our time.
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