Name Me Lawand – Film Review

Name Me Lawand explores the power of communication and community with this rapturous portrait of a young Deaf Kurdish boy. 

After leaving his home in Iraq, Lawand and his family arrive in Derby so that he can attend a specific deaf school. The loss of a home is tough on the family, but they know that through this tricky move, they’re able to provide more of one for Lawand. Through chapters we’re able to join them on this heart-breaking journey, one theme at a time. The pacing of the film slightly threw me off with each chapter feeling like it could have been its own short. This made watching a rollercoaster at times because a chapter would end and leave the audience wondering if that was the end of it all. The sections were wonderful in telling their own individual stories but bringing them together could have been slightly smoother.

However, the overall visual style of this film was a treat, making an everyday normal life so cinematic that you could just sit and enjoy, not believing the twists and emotion of this real story. This was a film with deafness at its heart, allowing Lawand to tell his story so true to him and how he interacts with the world. The colours and shots were gorgeous, making home living feel larger than life, reminding us how different people see the world, but we can all see it in a light and beautiful way.

There were many moments when the audience was in tears together. For me, it was mostly when we heard that Lawand’s parents didn’t want to learn BSL. I understood in a way, how they didn’t know English so learning British Sign Language would be tricky, but they could have at least tried for their son. We focus on Lawand’s story mostly, but having his family share their thoughts and feelings made it a journey for all of them. From deportation worries to being a fractured unit, it was beautiful to have everyone narrate in their preferred language. Other times, I teared up with joy when we saw the group of boys from the school and the friendship that bloomed between them. I was fascinated to hear from them and see their relationships. They were just normal children, playing and having fun, communicating in their own fun ways, truly building something important. By having Lawand help make this film, the truth was highlighted in glorious ways, and he wasn’t made to be a spectacle. 

Name Me Lawand has given me a new perspective of life and reaffirmed what I already believe about BSL. I would encourage anyone to learn just the basics if you can, so we can all live together on this planet and be able to love, share and communicate with each other.

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