Asteroid

Just like The Quiet Girl, this is a wholesome film that goes straight for the heart.

Ebrahim is good boy who lives with his mother and 5 siblings. Since the disappearance of his father, he must earn money to keep the family going.

The film shows Ebrahim’s story from his perspective. To someone on the outside, this might be a tragic story, of a boy burdened with too much responsibility, pulled out of school and forced into child labour, poverty constantly snapping at his heels. But that’s not how Ebrahim sees it. Yes, everyone agrees he should be in school, the film, his mum, and him all would ideally like that. But just because his circumstances have fallen short of that, doesn’t mean his story is tragic or he should be viewed with pity.

This is a great story for showing people, even children, with agency, and having their own viewpoint on their own lives. Ebrahim is a happy kid. You would expect him to miss playing with classmates at school, but he plays with his brothers and sisters all the time. In them, he has plenty of friends. And you might expect work to be a grind that wears him down. But for Ebrahim, it is getting to meet new people and do interesting things.

Watching this in Glasgow, the concept of work and play are diametrically opposite, but in some cultures there is the same word for both. You can see that mingling when Ebrahim is climbing up trees to shake down dates. Or taking tourists out to see beauty spots in the local area. Ebrahim has a clean heart that is happy to help. He is kind to everyone he meets. He sees work as an opportunity, not as a burden.

Another example of what I absolutely loved about this film is that one of Ebrahim’s siblings has no hands. It’s never mentioned. Not once. He is never excluded nor presumed incapable, just treated identically to the rest of the children. With the innocence of childhood, his difference is immaterial.

I also love that the film also doesn’t pretend that Ebrahim is anything other than a kid. Even though he has such a good nature, he buys shopping on the way home from work, and his mum just stands over the bags, going, “What junk have you bought?” while pulling out 2-litre bottles of blue fizz. One day, for a treat, Ebrahim asks his mum if he can make pizza, and makes the most loaded cheesy pepperoni pizza you ever saw.

This film is just full of the warm joy of being around family. Of eating with, playing with, and providing for family. Staying together, with a light heart. Ebrahim is such a good soul.

Loved it.