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The Crack Magazine


Name Me Lawand

Director: Edward Lovelace

This lyrical documentary explores the life of a deaf Iraqi immigrant. Lawand was only five-years-old when he and his family, older brother Rawa and parents, fled the country, undergoing an arduous journey from Iraq to Derby. In his native country, there was little provision for Lawand, leaving the profoundly deaf child almost completely isolated. Lawand is sent to Derby’s Royal School of the Deaf, where, via patient teacher Sophie, he learns to communicate and makes a group of friends who share his passion for football. The 2001-style opening establishes the picture’s sense of wonder with footage of the sun rising over the Earth while a voiceover speculates on life on other planets. Director Lovelace, whose excellent documentary ‘The Possibilities are Endless’ charted the experience of singer Edwyn Collins after a severe stroke, once more relates the story of a protagonist gradually orientating themselves in a new sensory environment. The immaculately crafted sound design, beginning with muffled speech then giving way to swooning strings and stirring piano pieces, along with the impressionistic, tactile, golden-hued photography, elegantly illustrates Lawand’s gradual journey into the light. The ecstatic glow is occasionally disrupted by the messy and jarring business of real life, such as the revelation that Lawand’s parents were initially reluctant to learn signing, and the nuts and bolts of the family’s asylum application and nagging worry that they will have their request to remain refused, but this is a uniquely immersive and deeply humane documentary.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter at @DWill_Crackfilm