‘Back to Victoria’ – a question of balance

Back to Victoria Film Frame
Back to Victoria Film Frame

Story by Arianne Zajac | Photo from the film

On 22nd June, the Inspector of Education, Language, Training and Consultancy (IELTC) hosted a film showing by award winning director, Jaafar Muraad, with his short film ‘Back to Victoria’. The film was made as part of his degree at Sheffield Hallam University, and it has been shown at 61 festivals internationally, picking up 10 awards for Jaafar along the way.

The film reflects the misconceptions and mistrust of Islam by westerners, with two friends preparing for an important day, and reading from the Quran when they head towards their target for the day, Victoria railway station. Are they about to commit an act of terror, or are their intentions wholly benign?

It is a highly dramatic film, that captured the emotions of all those involved really well. Questions around stereotypes and our ingrained biases are cleverly brought to the fore.

Jafaar spoke after the film, talking of the need for ‘balance’ referring not just to the depiction of religion in his film, but with a broader meaning of having a balance of different cultures and religions in life, of toleration of others, and the need to create a balanced but diverse society.

The showing was followed by an intellectual but welcoming discussion around the issues raised, such as western perceptions of terrorism, and how to challenge those negative biases.

The film has already been shown in schools in France to engage others in similar discussions. Conversations and debates went on for some time, surrounding religion, politics, cultures, history from around the world, all helped along by some quite delicious Syrian food.