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The Hollywood Insider Love, Life & Everything in Between Review

Photo: ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between’

‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ is more than a visual anthology about love and life. It depicts a multitude of aspects of life that coincide with the relationships and lives that people live. It features love as the main theme of the series but it also heavily relies on and ties itself to the culture of the people that it renders. Basing itself solely on Arab culture and communities, the series of short films engages the viewer and reflects the ideology that the lives and experiences of humans everywhere in the world are similar no matter where they are found. People, no matter their background or culture, all experience love, pain, anger, happiness, and numerous other human emotions.

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The portrayal and representation of normal people, especially those that struggle with everyday problems such as personal relationships or financial issues causes this series to be more than a narrative. Rather, these short films become a social commentary on the inadequacies of life and an individual’s struggle to glean any morsel of happiness from the difficulties of existence within society. ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ represents the spectrum of human emotion. By refusing to be cast into a single category this visual anthology represents short tales of life which manifests a personal and symbolic parallel between the actors on screen and the viewer at home.     

Arab Directors Originating from Six Different Countries

‘Love, Life & Everything in Between’ is directed by Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan, Mahmoud Sabbagh, Hany Abu-Assad, Sandra Bassal, Khairy Beshara, and Amira Diab. Each of these Arab directors is award-winning and Oscar-nominated.  This anthology series depicts life primarily drawing from several Arab countries such as: Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Tunisia. By drawing from such a wide range of countries the anthology allows for greater diversity and a more encompassing vision for the life of these communities. Whether one of these short films takes place in a small town or a bustling city, the representation of humans is still the same. By portraying a fully embodied perspective stemming from personal experience, the anthology series relates the human condition to any single character exhibited.

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In the first short film, ‘O Brother,’ the relationship between a father and his autistic child is combined with the story of a bride nearing the day of her wedding. The short film masterfully shows the love and dedication between the father and son, while also revealing the fact that this father and the woman about to be married are truly in love with each other. The complexity of the tale as well the natural turn of events leading to the ending of the short film mirrors nothing other than the intricacies and complications of real life.

The main message of this short film is that despite the difficulties and personal challenges that one may face in life, love is the connection that ties and commands all humans. By basing the visual anthology upon their own experiences, as well as their own communities and cultures, the directors of these short films enable the viewer to connect with this series on a personal level. The point that these directors are attempting to express is that despite human differences and while the circumstances of life may be distinct for everyone, we all experience the same emotions and desires.    

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‘Love, Life & Everything in Between’: An Anthology to The Differing Forms and Layers of Love

The visual anthology, ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ depicts a multitude of varying forms of love. From the first short film which covers the parental love of a father and child, as well as the burning passion between two lovers, the understanding and employment of love begins to take on a new shape with each character envisioned. In the second film of the anthology, ‘Al-A’Sha,’ the viewer can see how a once love and past personal connection has turned into a source of dislike and resentment. ‘Al-A’Sha,’ in an extreme and expressionist style, attempts to mirror the thoughts and minds of the characters, one of whom’s stress in the ending of his relationship begins to associate the break-up with imaginary pain and death. For the other person in the relationship, the courage to end this connection becomes a source of fear and anxiety as she begins to dread the conversation that she must have with her partner.

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This short film portrays how the ending of love between two people can transform into a wide range of other emotions most accurately associated with pain and guilt. While love may be a powerful human emotion that can be the cause of the beginning of a relationship between two people, it is not the sole guide that dictates the human condition. This love does not always last and that is the main point that the short film, ‘Al-A’Sha,’ subtly conveys. ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ does not attempt to depict only a single side of what life can be for humans. It captures the essence of all forms of love whether they result in great happiness or numbing pain. Essentially, ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ mirrors the victories and hardships of life by showing that humans through their survival are forced to undergo both pain and happiness. Primarily, it is love that dictates both, and to lead a full life one cannot solely have one without the other.   

Each Short Film Offers A Unique Story From Its Director’s Perspective

‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ draws the main influence of its message from its use of everyday people. These characters represent full-bodied experiences that perfectly reflect the perspective of the directors. At the end of each short film, it is always love that dictates the events of the tale. By framing each part of the anthology under the holiday of Valentine’s Day, the viewer is forced to confront the power of love within each short film. Depicted as a cultural holiday, this day which is meant to appreciate the special people in one’s life, demands that the viewer, as well as the characters, submit to something larger than a single individual. The short visual anthology shows how, while some characters aim to resist the personal hold that love may have on their life as well as the emotion itself, the fact that such a large number of people participate in the celebration of their loved ones portrays the true effect that love has not on just an individual but on society as well.

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Humans bond not only through their personal relationships but through the admittance that they all experience the same emotions as well. To be human is to feel, not just through one’s senses but through a deeper union that connects us all to a civilization of living, conscious beings. ‘Love, Life & Everything in Between,’ is a tremendous series that ingrains itself within this reality. It does not attempt to romanticize love but rather tells all sides to this complex emotion. Though, more accurately, it tells the story of real people who struggle with life in desperate search of finding their own happiness.

This series through its use of fantastic storytelling, excellent cinematography, and acclaimed directing is essentially one of realism and truth. It does not attempt to hide the darker aspects of human emotion but rather finds its strength in portraying them. This series is not so much about love as it is about human connection and relation through this emotion. Through the eyes of the directors of this series, the nature of humans and their existence can be seen. Life is not simply a one-dimensional fantasy or fairytale. Life is a tumultuous journey where one can find love, happiness, anger, sadness, and everything in between. 

Directors: Mahmoud Sabbagh, Hany Abu-Assad, Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan, Sandra Bassal, Khairy Beshara, Amira Diab

Cast: Samer Bisharat, Ahmed Ezz, Asser Yassin, Mishal Almutairi, Ahmed Shawky Shaheen

Cinematographers: Víctor Rius, Ari Virem, Ibraheem Alshangeeti

Editor: Hussain Almutlaq

Writers: Mahmoud Sabbagh, Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan, Mohammed Alhamoud

Producers: Mohammed Alhamoud, Saleem Homsi, Abdulrahman Khawj

By Thomas Jacobs

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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