Love, Life and Everything In Between recounts unconventional love stories from the Middle East

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By Millie Sykes, Second Year, Classical Studies

Love, Life and Everything In Between (2022-) is a charming, if slightly odd, tv-series that explores non-traditional love stories. The series tells stories from Morocco, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Tunisia and is a fascinating insight into cultures and places I, and other viewers, may be less familiar with.

It comprises eight episodes, ranging from twenty to thirty minutes long, focusing on new characters and their eventful Valentine's Day. Each episode is a stand-alone and all are directed by different Arabic professionals, giving each episode a very different feel.

Courtesy of IMDB

Notably, different music genres wind through each episode, giving each one a sense of individuality. In addition, the directors lean into their distinctive styles and play with the range of physical environments. A very enjoyable aspect of the series is the variation of visuals in each episode, whereby we see bustling towns, barren deserts and impoverished and wealthy areas.

Although the episodes do not relate to one another, they all follow a very similar layout: the protagonists attempt to find a gift for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day but are met with a series of disasters.

You can tune in to some episodes without watching the others, and it is the perfect watch for those who were feeling a little sorry for themselves on Valentine's Day.

Courtesy of IMDB 

The first episode is definitely a highlight and focuses on a young boy and his journey in persuading his older brother to help him in a mission to find the village chief's missing daughter. It was heart-warming and introduced the series very well, premising the non-traditional takes on ‘love’ that the series takes.

My favourite episodes were those which were slightly more unnerving and thought outside of the box, such as episodes five and six.

Episode five claims it is inspired by “what happened in 1999 in the city of New Buzz, capital of the Republic of South Asia when the Supreme Court issued a decision banning Valentine's Day”. This dystopian type of concept piqued my interest, however, the episode did not live up to my expectations.

Courtesy of IMDB 

The beginning is strong, and I loved the concepts that they came up with, such as measuring your heart rate to detect guilt, 3 years in prison for wearing a red dress on Valentine’s Day and a “Love prohibition agency” to enforce the laws. Unfortunately, the end was far too convenient and dramatised, which ruined the episode for me, but this may simply be due to the short nature of the episodes.

The sixth instalment has a supernatural feel and focuses on an old man who produces music and comes face to face with his dream girl pop star. Dark puddles reflect this episode back to the viewer in a series of dingy shots and disturbing imagery.

All in all, I found it difficult to fully immerse myself in each character's story due to the disparity between the episodes and their short length. It was even frustrating at times, as I felt some episodes could have been more exciting. In particular, episode four, where it seems that all that you witness are stifling traffic jams and hanging carcasses of livestock.

Courtesy of IMDB

I also feel that quite a few monologues about love are sadly lost in the translation from Arabic to English in the subtitles. However, I found the redeeming quality of most episodes were the humorous, charismatic and interesting group of protagonists.

Love Life and Everything In Between is a peculiar but delightful depiction of different types of love and an exploration of sombre topics, all tied together with humour.

Featured Image: IMDB


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