MIGRANTS: By focusing on the life of one small family battling faceless bureaucracy in an uncaring world, Eva Mulvad tells a story of our times.
Nick Holdsworth
Journalist, writer, author, filmmaker and film and TV industry expert – Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
Published date: February 2, 2020

Refugees and migrants have long been a common part of our daily news diet, thrust at us on television bulletins or through aggressive tabloid headlines.

The anonymous men and women who trudged across Europe three or four years ago; the capsized boats and drowned bodies in the Aegean, refugees are a faceless mass, a political headache, a tool for bigots, and a source of guilt for liberals.

But who are these people who flee war and terror, repression and intolerance? What motives them? How do they live once they have sought asylum in a largely uncaring world?

Raw & revealing

Eva Mulvad’s film seeks answers to these questions in an intimate film that allows a couple and their child to speak for the millions of others who are in movement today, fleeing literally for their lives.

Leila and Sahand, the heroes of Love Child are an Iranian couple who fled Tehran with their little boy Mani in 2012. Filmed from the very first day they get on a plane to neighbouring Turkey – unsure whether dawn will offer life or death – this is the beginning of a raw and revealing journey in which the young couple opens up their lives and hearts to the filmmakers.

Conceived by a Danish artist who had been approached after meeting Sahand (at the time an English teacher who had been coerced into working as a low-level informant for the Iranian secret police), the film seamlessly weaves together mobile phone footage with more cinematic scenes to tell the story of forbidden love and the desperate straits that seeking asylum brings to the family.

Like Sahand, Leila is a teacher. Both had been married when they met and had an illicit affair in a country where adultery can bring, at best, a public whipping (for the man) and at worst a public stoning to death (for the woman).

Love Child-documentary-MTR post
Love Child, a film by Eva Mulvad

Unhappy in their marriages – in Leila’s case one that had not even been consummated (and told by a judge when she sought a divorce to find solace in religion and television) – Mani, the love child of the …


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