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Indie animated film Lamya’s Poem is a hidden gem

Lamya poem is a hidden gem, a film that defies the expectations of modern American animation, but one that may resonate with fans of international projects like cartoon living room the breadwinner. The direct-to-streaming release comes from the nonprofit educational studio Unity Productions Foundation, founded by speaker and writer Alexander Kronemer, who wrote and directed the film. It follows a brilliant young woman named Lamya (Millie Davis), who finds solace in the poetry of 13th-century scholar Rumi (Mena Massoud) after she is forced to flee her hometown of Aleppo during the war. syrian civil war.

The film deals with three intertwined plots: Lamya’s flight from Syria, Rumi’s similar emigration after a Mongol invasion, and an encounter between the two in a strange fantasy world, where they encounter metaphorical beings that represent the dangers they face. they face each other On its own, any one of these plots could carry an entire movie. Lamya struggles to hold her head high when all hope is lost. Rumi struggles with her desire for revenge, which overcomes her devotion to her poetry. And in the kingdom of dreams, the two meet and discover a mysterious city under attack.

Image: Unity Productions Foundation

However, when Kronemer brings them together, they sometimes detract from each other, especially the fantasy plot, which occasionally undermines the individual journeys of the characters. Still, at the film’s climax, the three threads merge, with Rumi’s poetry tying them together, and come together in one beautiful and evocative moment.

Gorgeously rendered backgrounds help reinforce that beauty. Lamya poem It has its limitations, particularly in the forced character animation, but the exquisitely painted setting more than makes up for it. The fantastic world of dreams has the most striking images, but even the mundane backgrounds in the streets of Lamya’s hometown or Rumi’s desert walk are lovingly rendered. And that art isn’t reserved solely for rosy moments. Some of the most difficult scenes in the film (Lamya and her mother on a raft from Syria, Lamya alone in a refugee camp) are even more resonant when the setting plays such a large role.

an aerial view of a bustling middle eastern market

Image: Unity Productions Foundation

Lamya poem draws parallels between the Syrian refugee crisis (along with the prejudice Lamya faces when she ends up in an unspecified European country) and Rumi’s own emigration from Samarkand after the Mongol invasion. These are weighty issues, but Kronemer avoids showing explicit violence. Instead, he uses poetry to tie together his dark stories. Lamya repeats a particular poem by Rumi about reeds cut from their source Throughout the film, and as it progresses, the meaning behind the words becomes more and more apparent: Lamya and Rumi are separated from their home countries.

And that idea connects them, just as much as the actual poem gives them a link that stretches across time. There aren’t as many poems in this movie as a story about poetry might, but that only emphasizes the importance of the particular piece Lamya clings to, which Rumi himself composes in flashback. It is a testament to the power of poetry and art, and how it unites people through time and resonates with human truths unchanged through the centuries. Lamya poem shares the momentous impact that art can have by being a special work of art in itself.

two figures seated under a large green tree

Image: Unity Productions Foundation

Lamya poem is available for rent at Amazon, itunes, Apple TV, voodoo, Google playand other digital platforms.