Leave to Remain is a film about refugee children in the UK facing deportation. Although it is a work of fiction it is based on real life stories.
The movie follows the fictional character of Omar, a 13 year-old Afghan boy whose refugee status is being decided by the authorities. It follows his confusion and uncertainty, as he battles through the system. The film also follows the other minors in the asylum centre.
Toby Jones plays a teacher who befriends Omar: “The film is issue based. It is very clear what the issues are: vulnerable children being deposited and depositing themselves in an alien culture. Also I think the director has found a perspective on it that is very cinematic. There is something I think that is very magical about the film. It is almost like a fairy tale, the perspective on London makes the city look very unfamiliar.”
The teenagers in the film find themselves alone in a hostile country, the UK, struggling to make sense of an arbitrary system which appears not to care whether they live or die.
Toby Jones commented: “The primary duty of any film is to entertain. So the film’s agenda is yes it’s alerting you to certain issues, it’s refocusing you on certain things that are happening in the streets, that are happening everyday but primarily it has to work as entertainment. And I think that the trouble sometimes with films that wear their politics on their sleeves is that they can deter audiences from coming in.”
Leave to Remain is out now in the UK.
For more information see:
The film's official website