Rachid Bouchareb’s quiet drama dissects Islamophobia across the pond

Reviewed by Omid Arabian

Not a whole lot happens in London River, which sets it apart from Rachid Bouchareb’s other recent films — sweeping epics like Days of Glory and Outside the Law. Here, the Franco-Algerian director has elected to work on the other end of the scale, and the result is a small, subtle piece that nevertheless packs a hefty emotional punch.

Sotigui Kouyate, Brenda Blethyn

Sotigui Kouyate, Brenda Blethyn

In the wake of the London bombings of 7/7/2005 Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn), a fifty-something widowed farmer, calls her city-dwelling daughter Jane just to check up. Failing repeatedly to reach her, Elisabeth does what any mother would do—packs up a small case and heads out to look for her in London.

She arrives at the same time as Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate), a stoic elderly African-born Muslim who in similar fashion has come in pursuit of his son Ali—who he fears is somehow involved in the attacks.

Once these two main characters are introduced, London River becomes a slow dance between them, starting out as a box-step at arm’s length and taking its time to develop into something softer and more intimate. Their connection begins when Ousmane comes across a ‘MISSING’ flyer bearing Jane’s picture, and recognizes her from a photo he has of his son. He seeks out Elisabeth and shows her the photo, which freaks her out to the point of calling the police and having Ousmane arrested.

Read full review at Levantine Cultural Center blog.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *