When Harun, a second-generation British-Afghan man who grew up in London, can’t seem to find love through Western-style dating, he decides to use his culture’s methods to arrange a marriage.
But his potential love interest, Samira, is a recent refugee to London, and their first meeting — at a stylish sushi restaurant, no less — is also her very first date ever. Their differences leads to a small collision of expectations and perspectives, but what it opens up in the tension offers a glimmer of hope for the would-be couple.
This lovely chamber drama, co-written and co-directed by Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati, is a romantic story about the search for love and the longing for connection — something that most people anywhere can relate to. Through its beautiful writing and lovely cinematography, it captures both the hope and melancholy of romance, the awkwardness of a first date and the strange rituals and practices of modern-day dating.
What makes this short film distinctive is its nuanced observation of how people feel the pull of their cultures, languages and traditions, even after growing up in the West. Stylish and self-assured Harun has his foot in both his British lifestyle and his cultural background, fluent in both the cosmopolitan tastes of a London sophisticate while loving the customs and culture of Afghanistan.
But Samira is new to it all, allowing both Harun and the audience to see Western urban life through new eyes and lending her a charm, curiosity and intelligence to her characterization. Watching her learn and adapt to her circumstances, no matter how small, is a pleasure.
Both actors — co-director Ehsas as Harun and Afsaneh Dehrouyeh as Samira — offer subtle, genuine and honest performances that reflect the uncertainty, longing and yearning that both literally bring to the table. Watching them unravel their vulnerabilities with one another, slowly and uncertainly, is a beautiful process to behold, creating a deeply touching storytelling experience.
Long-listed for a BAFTA, “Our Kind of Love” is a genuinely heartfelt slice-of-life short that keeps its style and aesthetic simple and elegantly pared down. There is no fancy camerawork to hide behind, or any dazzling production tricks to distract. Instead, its relative simplicity foregrounds the fact that often the biggest stories in our lives are ones where we lay bare who we are for another to witness — and in risking vulnerability, we hope to find this openness reciprocated, leading to the type of understanding and connection that keeps us all going and makes life meaningful.