Natural child stars both shine

Natural child stars both shine

The heart-warming film, Bekas - which means "orphan" in Kurdish - was inspired by the true tale of its director, Karzan Kader, who left Iraq, aged six, with his brother and moved to Sweden.

Set in war-torn Iraq in 1990, homeless, orphaned brothers Dana (played by Sarwar Fazil) and Zana (Zamand Taha) share an innocent dream: after glimpsing Superman in a movie, they want to flee Iraq and join him in the US.

Soberingly, their journey is fraught with dangers, including the threat of child smugglers.

Neither of Kader's two young stars are professional actors; he chose "real" youngsters from the streets and orphanages, who looked and sounded convincing. Their expressions - at times vulnerable, then defiant and brave - do feel genuine, and their childishness adds welcome humour to the overall sad tone.

The film has a pleasing, natural look, too. Kader and his camera always keep things simple, including no use of artificial light.

Unfortunately, the storyline stretches credibility; some parts seem just too good to be true. Not even that, though, stops Bekas from being a must-watch delight.

YP Rating: 4/5

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