POV: Love Child
Airs Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. on KPBS 2 + PBS Video App
The award-winning documentary film “Love Child” is a political love story about Leila, her secret love, Sahand, and their escape from Iran.
On a cold winter’s day a plane arrives in Istanbul with four-year-old Mani, and his parents on board. Though they seem like any other family on a trip, the little boy doesn’t know that the journey is an escape, that the three of them can never return to Iran and that the ‘uncle’ he is traveling with is really his biological father.
With adultery punishable by death, this family could never live together in Iran, so they flee their country in search of a safe place in the West where they can build a life together.
Award-winning Danish filmmaker Eva Mulvad’s “Love Child” documents the family as they wind their way through the bureaucratic tangle of the asylum process, just as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is inundated with waves of applicants displaced by the civil war in Syria.
Throughout the years long asylum process, Mulvad chronicles the ebb and flow of the couple’s fortunes and their stabilizing commitment to form a family over the course of six years.
“I risked everything and left my country,” Leila explains, “not for money or the good life. I wanted to give my child a life, where his mother and father live together. We left because we just wanted to live like a normal family.”
Their quest for normalcy is threatened by ever present doubts about the future and anxieties over the past and the sense of alienation that accompanies the loss of one's homeland.
“In this whole world, you don’t even belong to a little piece of land,” Leila notes. “Being a refugee is as if you’re here, but you don’t exist.”
As much as it is a refugee account, “Love Child” is an intimate love story about an illicitly formed family on a journey to start a new life in safety. Taking us behind the headlines of the refugee crisis, Mulvad said, “I wanted to nuance the refugee debate and humanize the statistics by presenting people we can mirror ourselves in.”
“While there are many genres of documentary, the love story is uncommon,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director of POV/American Documentary. “This film has something for everyone and will move and delight audiences. It’s serious, and the stakes are high, but the deft filmmaking and poignant protagonists take audiences on a memorable journey not soon forgotten. We are so happy to bring it to American audiences.”
Focusing on the mundane as well as the momentous, Mulvad captures the slow, complex process of three people becoming a family. Ultimately, "Love Child" documents the triumph of love and human will over a pitiless state and a faceless bureaucracy.
“Love Child” premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and received a Special Jury Mention at the 2019 DOC NYC Film Festival, as well as a Gold Hugo at the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival.
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This film will stream online on POV.org in concurrence with its broadcast.
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POV is American television's longest-running independent documentary series, now in its historic 33rd season. Director: Eva Mulvad. Co-Directors: Lea Glob & Morten Ranmar. Script: Eva Mulvad. Editor: Adam Nielsen. B-Editor: Thor Ochsner & Bobbie Esra Pertan. Cinematographer: Eva Mulvad, Lea Glob, Morten Ranmar, Meryem Yavuz, Esben Grage, Henrik Bohn Ipsen. Graphic Designer: Nicolai Bejder. Composer: Jakob Bro, Thoma Knak, Anders Remmer & Jesper Skaaning. Sound Designer: Heikki Kossi, M.P.S.E. Creative Producer Finland: Iikka Vehkalahti. Co-Producer: Ulla Simonen & Ilona Tolmunen. Executive Producers: Eva Mulvad, Mikala Krogh, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær P.G.A. & Henrik Grunnet. Creative Producer: Henrik Grunnet. Producer: Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær P.G.A.