It is set during the aftermath of 7 July terrorist bombings
London River, a film exploring prejudice has just been released in Italy.
Set against the backdrop of the 7th July 2005 bombings, London River directed by Rachid Bouchareb (“Days of Glory”), stars the wonderful Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté who sadly passed away on 17th April 2010.
It tells the story of a friendship which develops between two seemingly unconnected people – Elizabeth (Brenda Blethyn) and Ousman (Kouyaté). Both of them have come to London to search for their children who are missing in the aftermath of the bombings.
Although they come from different religious backgrounds – Ousman is an African Muslim living in France, and Elizabeth is a white Christian living in Guernsey, UK, they share the hope of finding their children alive. Putting aside their cultural differences, they give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith.
Bouchareb comments: “My film is less about the bombings themselves, and more about the meeting between these two people that takes place in their wake. That’s what was more important to me, that these two people who meet are united by the same problem, which is their desire to find their children. And the story is about these two people, a man and a woman from very different backgrounds but faced with the same fears, the same anxieties. I needed a crisis to bring them together, but that crisis could have been something else, the September 11 attacks for example.”
He notes that “Our lives aren’t so different because we are not different, whichever of the four corners of the globe we might live in. In our thoughts, our feelings, our fears, our joys, our hopes and worries - our lives, they are not so different at all. They are the same.”
Kouyatè who plays the role of an African farmer who has travelled from rural France to London to search for his son, said: “London River is about the problems that life poses for mankind. It has to do with the attack of 7/7, and it also talks of Islam, but these subjects are not at its heart. Rather, it wants to show the difficulties people have in accepting one another, the fear they feel. It is a film about how we react to things and this is what interests me. It teaches us that when you meet the other, don’t be scared to look them in the eye, for if you are brave enough to do so, you will be seeing yourself more clearly.”
The film in a very intelligent manner, uses the tragedy to bring closer two people who were living in totally different worlds, apparently convinced that they had nothing in common. But it’s just a matter of time before it emerges that the son Ousman is looking for and the daughter Elizabeth is looking for, not only knew each other but were actually roommates and maybe lovers.
The love between their children which they were unaware of refuses to be destroyed by the 7 July bombings. Fate has it that their parents must come to know about it in such a sad circumstance.
Parents, who were initially convinced to be totally different, soon realise that they have so much in common. They end up putting aside their cultural and religious differences to give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith in humanity.
LONDON RIVER CREDITS
Production Company: 3B Productions/The Bureau/Tassili Films
Directed by: Rachid Bouchareb
Starring: Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyaté
Producer: Jean Bréhat
Production Designer: Jean Marc Tran
Cinematographer: Jérôme Alméras
Editor: Yannick Kergoat
Sound: Philippe Lecoeur, Franck Rubio, Olivier Walczak
Music: Armand Amar
Running Time: 87 mins
By Stephen Ogongo