Ashraf has been a political refugee in London for 30 years, content with spending his days in his study or his local social club. One day he receives a call from his friend, telling Ashraf that his son Moataz has been fatally wounded in a protest. His friend pleads with Ashraf to return home. As Ashraf struggles to return to Palestine, he recollects moments from his past - memories that are a heavy burden and a reminder of his failures and mistakes.
Speaking about the film, director Saeed Taji Farouky said “Strange Cities Are Familiar is based on many experiences in my own life, and the lives of my parents. The political reality Ashraf lives with - never having a stable state or citizenship - is familiar to many in my family. Ashraf, similarly, has a conflicted relationship to his memories: they are the only thing still connecting him to his family and Palestine, but they are also a heavy burden that hang around his neck. The form of the film itself, lyrical and fragmentary, mirrors Ashraf’s experiences of the world around him. I think audiences are hungry for new and radical visual approaches to cinema, both in content and form. I am aiming to approach a political cinema that embraces the humanity of the story, to create a film that concerns complex issues, but is energised with the intensity and relevance of small, personal details. Narratively, the film deals with characters rarely seen on British screens: representing the cultural, racial and economic diversity of contemporary Britain.”
Strange Cities are Familiar was funded by Creative England Emerging Talent Fund, and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. It stars acclaimed actor Mohammad Bakri in the lead role. It has screened at seven festivals world wide.
For a full list of cast and crew, please click here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8391418/