Review: “Name me Lawand” by Edward Lovelace
By Sylvia, Hearing Link Services volunteer.
“Name me Lawand” a 2022 documentary directed by Edward Lovelace, follows the path of a young boy called Lawand, who was born profoundly deaf in Iraqi Kurdistan, as he learns to communicate.
At the age of five, his family undertook a perilous journey, by land and sea to find a way forward for Lawand, who was stigmatised and bullied at school with no support available. They spent a year in a refugee camp in France where a deaf aid worker helped the family move to Derby in the UK so that Lawand could attend the Royal School for the Deaf. It is here that the documentary begins.
Lovelace had seen a black and white photo of Lawand and his older brother Rawa online, dressed in football attire, taken by a deaf photographer. Inspired by the likeness to his own brothers, he decided to make a documentary with the aim of perhaps helping the family to understand each other better. Lawand’s parents wanted him to learn speech to avoid isolation, but Lawand chose sign instead. Rawa was learning English and acted as an interpreter between Lawand and his parents, who were unable to sign.
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Bringing Lawand’s story to life
By using sound, different camera shots and archive footage, Lovelace captures the world as Lawand sees it over a four-year period. To do so he enlisted the support of two deaf filmmakers, one of whom was formerly captain of Fulham Deaf Football Club. This was something that helped Lawand to realise that there were no limits on what he could achieve. It was also the first time the family had met any deaf adults. In addition, one of the producers came from the same area of North Iraq as the family, which helped to build a rapport and they began to believe in a future.
The documentary shows that the family were facing more than the task of supporting Lawand’s progress at school, since their application for asylum was under scrutiny by the Home Office.
A relatable and moving storyline
Viewers will be moved, not just by the beauty and innovative approach to the filming, but by the charismatic nature of a young boy emerging as he learns to sign. He finds love, friendship and kindness through non-verbal communication. His brother, Rawa’s depth of love for Lawand is truly heart-warming. He expresses his belief that this planet is not made for Lawand and that he would like to go with him to another place.
As to whether this planet will ultimately provide Lawand with the right sort of future is something you can reflect on after watching the documentary.
Released on 7th July 2023, now in cinemas across the UK, catch it if you can.
Name me Lawand (2022), Edward Lovelace