FOREIGN FILM: Limbo
Feb 9-12, 2023
In Limbo, director Ben Sharrock presents a number of refugees from Syria and elsewhere—single men with no families—who have been relocated in grimly functional hostels with a bare-minimum subsistence allowance. Forbidden to do any paid work, they must simply wait for the official word on whether they can stay. The situation is taken broadly from real life. Sharrock superbly suggests the growing atmosphere of fear and anger that hovers like cloud cover: the men believe that they are deliberately kept in this stage of depression and desperation so that they will crack and ask to be sent home. Their contact with the state comes in the form of the drolly dramatized lectures they receive from two officials, Helga (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Boris (Kenneth Collard), who tell them how to apply for menial jobs over the phone and the correct, respectful way to behave with women while dancing with them at a nightclub—a particularly bizarre instruction as these poor lonely men will never get near anything as exciting as that. Limbo manages to turn its downbeat scenario into a sweet and touching rumination on the quest to belong in an empty world.
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