“Love Child”: Toronto 18th Annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival Canada

“Love Child” is not some X rated film!

I could recite a ream of dates and stories to go with the documentary but I will let you take that journey as sometimes I prefer to go to the essence of the story told in the documentary.

Leila and Sahand are two Iranians who had an extra-marital affair in Iran and have a child out of wedlock, a boy called Mani.

Both are teachers.

Leila’s husband is an abusive rehab failure that beats his wife and after three years of marriage it has not been consummated. At the end of her wits she meets and falls in love with fellow teacher Sahand who is also a part time spy for the Iranian secret police.

In “progressive” Iran a Muslim theocracy rules the roost where adulterous women may be stoned to death and her fellow sinner could be hung in a football stadium like Christians be thrown to the lions in the Roman Colosseum.

Sahand and Leila flee Iran to Turkey in fear of their life and spend seven years trying to get processed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Ankara so they can be released as refugees to any country willing to accept them.

Leila and Sahand eventually obtain their Iranian divorces so they are now a real family with a good crack at immigration from Turkey and finally Sahand is accepted by UNHCR after Leila and Mina. Sahand and Leila marry in Turkey so as a family it is beginning to look good but for some reason UNHCR now states they are ineligible to be sent to a safe country. It would seem if Sahand could establish he did work for the Iranian secret police he might have had a better chance at getting the family out of Turkey. Yes, and he can easily establish that!

I have no objection for strict and fair immigration policies provided they have a solid fabric of compassion and have no bleeding heart for those who jump the line, illegally enter a country then hope to sneak through to another country or somehow get an amnesty in the country they illegally arrived in.

Leila and Sahand played it by the book and after 7 years of trying they are still in Turkey and have filed two complaints against the UNHCR for mishandling their case. One can’t debate that the fact that Sahand worked for a secret police force in a country that has a shameful human rights record may have been a factor working against him.

I am not making any value judgements here but the documentary is priceless in that it very clearly documents the fact that refugees may experience terror, guilt, frustration, happiness, hope, despair and anger which is perhaps the strongest part of the documentary.

This 2019 Danish documentary is 112 minutes in length and is in several languages with English subtitles. A film by Eva Mulvad. This is a FREE FILM and will be screened virtually throughout Canada but you’ll need to reserve tickets at the Ted Rogers Cinema Website. The festival runs from February 18-22.

See the trailer here https://www.dropbox.com/s/8lwgvmvjo954804/Love%20Child%20-%20Trailer%20%28720p%20with%2025fps%29.mp4?dl=0

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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