The Strangers’ Case (2024) Berlinale 2024

February 23rd, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Brandt Andersen | with Yasmine Al Massri, Yahya Mahayni, Omar Sy, Ziad Bakri, Constantine Markoulakis | Jordan 2024 | Arabic, English, Greek, Subtitles: English, German | 97′ | World premiere | Debut film

According to the Berlinale festival blurb it was our very own bard William Shakespeare coined the phrase ‘The Strangers’ Case’ in reference to the plight of migrants all over the world. This apparently inspired first time feature director Brandt Anderson to make a film about a tragedy of ┬árefugees.

The Strangers’ Case is a gripping if schematic film that centres on a Syrian family in Aleppo whose predicament will change the lives of five different families. In the midst of it all is Amira, an Aleppo-based paediatric surgeon and her daughter who find themselves swept into a dangerous but familiar tale when they are buried by a bomb from the civil war raging in their country.

Managing to escape the ruins of their home they secure a place on one of those un-seafareing dinghies run by a criminal trafficker/criminal (the muscular Cy ). On the same boat trip is another Syrian family who have opted to leave their place in a migrant camp in order to get to Europe. The criminal who organises their boat transfer, for a hefty fee, is also responsible for a son who he leaves behind.

The Texas born director certainly masters his material in a slick and confident debut that certainly provides compulsive viewing although the narrative tends to be simplistic with characterisations falling predictably into baddie and goodie territory and a docudrama with a predictable ending. @MeredithTaylor





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