Love Child is the documentary from director Eva Mulvad, following Leila and Sahand, a couple fleeing Iran with their young son. We quickly learn why it’s imperative they escape their home country: both were previously married and have had a long-standing affair. Leila could be stoned to death for their “crime.”
Filmed over an intense period of five years, Leila and Sahand let the filmmakers bear witness to the most personal of moments as they wait and wait and wait for their next life to begin in Turkey, endlessly refreshing the UNHCR page to check on the status of their asylum claim.
But as well as sharing in their frustrations we also share in their moments of happiness. The love between them and for their son emanates off the screen as they tenaciously make the most of life in limbo.
Following their journey has the narrative impetus of a fictional drama and challenges our typical expectations of a refugee story. This is not all desperate images of overloaded dinghies in choppy waters but a middle-class couple left adrift by a broken system. We might not like to admit it but it makes it harder to ignore a reality when we can more easily imagine ourselves in their shoes.
At a time when immigration is back at the top of the political and news agenda once again, this is a moving and timely look at the human story behind the headlines and statistics.
We had the privilege of speaking with director Eva and Leila who spoke about how their collaboration came about, the challenges for both the filmmakers and the real-life family in shooting Love Child and what they hope the impact of it will be given the current context.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 6th November 2020.
Love Child is released digitally on-demand on 6th November 2020.
Watch the trailer for Love Child here: