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‘The Swimmers’ – Sally El Hosaini’s film – heart, hope and humour drive absorbing tale of survival and excellence… (video & review)

BRITISH writer-director Sally Al Hosaini talks to about her latest film, ‘The Swimmers’ which dropped on Netflix this week.
The film is about the real life story of two sisters Sarah and Yusra Mardini and their journey from war-torn Syria to Germany, crossing over land initially and then launching into the Aegean Sea in a small dinghy to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.
It is nowhere near as grim as it sounds – there is great music and a lot of fun and humour in the film is very watchable.
El Hosaini at the end talks about her latest project with actor James Krishna Floyd (Emad in this film and he starred in El Hosaini’s debut feature, ‘My Brother the Devil’). Watch to the end – it’s an exciting South Asian British film.

Production credits
A Big Talent Media Production for
Interview/Producer: Sailesh Ram
Editing: Natalie Barrass

Review – Awe-inspiring story full of heart and hope

Sara Mardini (Manal Issa), Yusra Mardini (Nathalie Issa) in The Swimmers. Pic: Ali Güler/Netflix © 2022

DRAMATISED by Jack Thorne and director Sally El Hosaini, ‘The Swimmers’ is the story of the Mardini sisters, Yusra and Sarah, who are being taught to be potential Olympic swimmers by their father, Ezzat, (Ali Suliman).
He is a benign but tough coach who had hopes of his own of being an Olympian.
In the film, the sisters acting duo Nathalie and Manal play Yusra and Sara, respectively, and the swimming sequences are a thrill to watch.
Life goes on beautifully in Damascus, Syria and the sisters even have a bird called Lulu.
Then the bombings begin, and the girls experience some macroaggressions until it is decided that the sisters should leave with their cousin, Nizar (Ahmed Malek) to seek a better life in Europe where they can also continue their training.
The journey and hardship is shown in gruelling detail, especially the moment when their small boat, packed with other refugees on the way from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos, is about to submerge and the girls literally tow it to safety by swimming.
An attempted sexual assault on Yusra in Hungary, the possibility of romance between Afghan Emad (James Krishna Floyd) and Sara (Manal Issa) and the detention at a refugee camp vividly illustrate both the high and lows of their perilous journey across land, sea and land again travelling from Eastern Europe and into Berlin.
In Turkey sometime earlier, the trio throw off the stigma of refugees and with their hair more tousled and clothes worn more loosely walk their way past security to gain entry into a posh beach resort simply to have a decent shower.
One is in awe of the Mardini sisters and their story is an inspiration of succeeding against the odds. (Suman Bhuchar)
ACV rating: ****(out of five)

The Swimmers is out on Netflix now
SB saw ‘The Swimmers’ at London Film Festival (October 5-16)

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture