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Leila (2002)

Main image of Leila (2002)
Digital video, 10 min, colour
DirectorIan Dodds
Production CompanyGMAC
In association withScottish Screen
Supported byUK Film Council
ProducerSkye Reynolds
ScreenplayRoxana Pope
CinematographyEnrico Harvey

Leila is a ten year-old Iranian girl seeking asylum in Britain with her family. They end up staying with Leila's aunt, where Leila meets her cousin, Sara, who has been brought up in Scotland. How will they cope?

Video Clips

Complete film (10:11)

What do you think?

  1. What is the effect of the music in the opening sequence?
  2. How does the filmmaker emphasise Leila's sense of isolation in the film?
  3. What do you think Leila's mum means when she accuses her sister of becoming 'so British?'
  4. What evidence is there of Iranian culture in the film?
  5. What do you make of the ending? Is it a happy one?
  1. The music in the opening sequence is Middle Eastern suggesting that we are not in Britain.
  2. The filmmaker encourages this sense of isolation by shooting the film from Leila's point of view. She is humiliated in front of some classmates when it's discovered she has nits, she's also isolated by a cousin and friends as well as her mother who refuses to listen to her.
  3. The suggestion here is that her sister is now less concerned with family than she perhaps was in Iran.
  4. Iranian culture is evident in the film through language, script - Leila 'writing backwards', music, religion, clothing and cuisine.
  5. We are left to draw our own conclusions as to how Leila and her mother will fare in the UK. Her mother is still trying to obtain a lawyer so they can begin the process of seeking asylum, while Leila seems to have made some friends and appears less isolated than when they first arrived which is a positive sign.