Film Review: HAMSA


This short documentary piece is the précis of one woman, her family and their spirited journey towards resettlement in a small German town.

There are two journeys that have defined the refugee crisis – that of privation, catastrophe and even death to gain access to Europe, and then there is Hamsa’s story. The Syrian mother of three is the paladin of this documentary. She is not a conventional hero, but she is a motif for fortitude.

Although 20 minutes in no way gives justice to the four-year journey Hamsa and her family embarked upon to reach Germany, it’s enough to understand the tribulation of a mother trying to find a better quality of life for her family.

Watching the opening scene of Hamsa you’d expect the tone of the film to be crestfallen and lamentable. But its intention is far more uplifting and successful. Laughter is stippled throughout the documentary – those small mercies offer some reprieve from the ill-fated migrant stories we have become accustomed to.

Between cuts of Schnega – a quiet, wintry-looking town with a modest population of 1,500, Hamsa is interviewed about how she is adapting to life in Germany. Producer Caroline Spearpoint paints a mostly positive picture about Hamsa, but between the welcoming celebrations from locals more formidable things come to light – Eiad, an engineer and Hamsa’s husband, struggles to learn German and find work. It’s only on second watch that you truly understand the disquietude and pressure of starting a new life again.

Hamsa is essentially the story of a family who, after making a dangerous journey from their home of Syria, attempt to settle in a new country. It’s an affecting and organic documentary with as much jocosity as adversity. Ultimately it’s a portrait of a mother who would readily surrender her own life to better that of her children.

We gave it a rating of 4 / 5 mangos.

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