Writing really does wonders for everyone out there. Whether you’re writing something or reading something that was written, it has an impact on just anybody. It impacts the writer giving them a chance to voice their opinions, or tell the truth. Anyone who reads gets their life impacted as well, hopefully for the better. For years, I’ve been interested in poetry. From simple limericks in Elementary, to literature by Emily Dickinson and E.A. Poe in high school. It’s what inspired me to do my own writing, and I have done many different kinds. But poems are definitely something I try to do on the side.
Poems can be simple or complex, and there are a lot out there. This one in particular is very complex in many ways. Let us plunge into the deep poetry and even deeper meanings of the details in Lamya’s Poem.
It all starts one simple morning in Syria as Lamya (Millie Davis) and her mother (Aya Bryn) enjoy a peaceful morning waiting for Lamya’s teacher, Mr. Hamadani (Raoul Bhaneja) to come by and teach some lessons. Unfortunately, he can’t stay for too long, but he stays long enough to say that Lamya has a potential future as a teacher herself teaching the younger kids. As Lamya gives Mr. Hamadani her finished assignments, he gives her some new reading material. A collection of poems by the great poet, Rumi. Lamya finds herself immersed in the book’s fine literature, but some strange shadowy creature with evil red eyes seems to be forming in her mind, haunting her wherever she looks. Later that night, Lamya dreams that she meets Rumi (Mena Massoud) who offers to show her a nearby town after she discovers him trying to plant his own flute in a barren wasteland. However, she’s awakened by sirens and explosions and ends up comforting her mother through the night.
We go back to Syria from 2016 to 1221 for a few minutes where we see the young Rumi himself again doubting his own poetry works after escaping his home village from invading Mongols. The film continues to document Lamya’s day-to-day life while we are treated to two other stories: The workings of Lamya’s inner-mind as she journeys with Rumi who takes her on a tour of a fantasy city that resembles his home and Rumi’s journey in the past as he struggles with the fact that he and other people have been driven out of town, yet his father shows great optimism for a brighter future.
One particular day while Lamya is hanging out with her friends, a naughty boy named Bassam (Nissan Isen) steals her backpack with the book she recently got and to make matters worse, a plane flies above dropping bombs on the city, leaving it in ruins. At the same time, Lamya imagines herself in a scenario with Rumi as they witness his fantasy-esque town being burned to the ground by Mongol Warriors resembling werewolves. The warriors use strange thorny vine-like catapults that hurl flaming barrels toward the people and the town. In the aftermath, Lamya and her mother decide to move out of the city to a safer place across the ocean. While the future seems bleak, Lamya already gets a small glimmer of hope after being able to retrieve both her backpack and the book which both seem to have survived the aftermath and got left behind by Bassam. Before they leave for good, Lamya offers to give Mr. Hamadani his book back, but he recommends that she keep it for it may help her in the future. Finally, after bidding their farewells, Lamya and her mother get in the back of a pickup truck with some other people leaving Syria and they begin their journey to elsewhere.
It’s not an easy journey as Lamya’s mother is forced to give up all her bracelets and her deceased husband’s wedding ring to cover the cost of traveling in a raft. Bassam who is also fleeing with his mother attempts to make amends by offering Lamya a half-eaten candy bar which she declines. The trip everyone takes ends up being more dangerous than expected as Lamya and her mother fall off the raft dealing with the dangerous and unwelcoming waves of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, in the other two stories, Rumi’s head is full of revenge as he plans to fight hate with hate. In the past, his father encourages him to continue the poetry while in Lamya’s dreamworld, Lamya encourages Rumi to go back to his flute. As Lamya makes it into Europe with no mother and no luggage having only the book of poetry, she deals with living in an illegal refugee camp and racist people who have no respect for refugees. Lamya does form more of a bond with Bassam as she reads him poems from the book she has, and Rumi learns to calm down his revenge both in Lamya’s imagination and in the year 1221. When Lamya lets a dark spirit in the form of a red-eyed serpent take over her mind, Rumi realizes the error of his ways and reaches out to the planted flute. Back in the past, Rumi gives up slowly on revenge when he discovers a retired Mongol living as a pilgrim in the same village as him and starts taking his writing more seriously.
It’s one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t have intense CGI or ridiculous over-the-top comedy, it has magic. It has dark disturbing moments. It has small glimmers of hope, which I have very few of myself. Alex Kronemer did a great job writing, directing, and producing the whole thing, and he found the perfect team to do it as well. Not just story-wise, but with animation. It’s simple 2D for the majority of it, much like classic Disney films, and while landmarks aren’t the most colourful they are still stunning to look at. Lamya’s imagination with Rumi’s land gives steampunk vibes and great similarities to the mysterious Treasure Planet, and both Rumi and Lamya’s real-life journeys are like a lot of dark but exciting films both real and animated. The serpent is probably the most interesting animated terror I’ve ever seen, and by the looks of it, that was the most complicated thing to animate besides the bombings. The characters are well developed, and I learned a lot about Syria, being a refugee, and that literature truly does help out in a lot of cases. It also shows you don’t need crazy 3D animation to tell a story. We should definitely see more of these types of films like we used to have years ago.
Lamya’s Poem recently became available. Buy it now and experience a world of poetry, magic, and overcoming major hurdles in life.