Saturday September 10th the world premiere of Layla M. took place at the Toronto International Film Festival. After the fantastic premiere the first two reviews were published by VARIETY & ScreenDaily.
Layla M., directed by Mijke de Jong, written by Jan Eilander, tells the story of Layla (Nora El Koussour), an 18-year old girl, born and raised in Amsterdam. Layla is smart, witty and stubborn – and of Moroccan background. In the times of constant terrorist threat, she struggles with the increasing suspicion towards girls with headscarves and boys with beards that she witnesses every day. While her frustration grows, her faith intensifies. Eventually, she joins a group of Muslims who fight for their practise of Islam. Layla posts films online depicting the horrors in Syria and Gaza and makes political flyers. And she flirts with the charismatic Abdel.
When her peaceful brother and she are arrested by the police, Layla, feeling hurt and isolated in her anger, more and more in conflict with her parents, is left with only one option: to leave home. She chooses marriage, with Abdel (Ilias Addab). After their wedding, Layla and Abdel roam the country together, perform ‘missionary work’, and raise money for the good cause. But after they narrowly escape a raid by the Belgian police on a group of young jihadists, they have to flee, to the Middle East.
Layla encounters a world that nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice.
Layla M. will be released throughout the Netherlands on November 17th.
For more information, visit the film’s facebook page