Five films about refugees around the world

Maria ShevchukNews
The events unfold around the so-called "green border" between Belarus and Poland. Source: A still from the movie

On March 21, the best Polish film of 2023, the scandalous "Green Border", which caused a lot of noise on the eve of the Polish elections, will be shown in Ukrainian cinemas. President Andrzej Duda himself spoke out against the new film by Polish film legend Agnieszka Holland. The political attack on the filmmaker and her work was accompanied by a massive online campaign: the film was bombarded with negative reviews on rating platforms even before the movie was released.

Agnieszka Holland realized that she was addressing the most painful and closed topic for Poland, which is the refugee crisis. Films have been made about this problem in different countries. On the eve of the screening, we collected 5 films about the refugee problem.

"Green border", dir. Agnieszka Holland (2023)

The story revolves around the so-called "green border" between Belarus and Poland. Refugees from the Middle East and Africa are trying to reach the European Union, which is portrayed by Lukashenko's propaganda as the gateway to paradise. They promise migrants an easy passage to the EU. In this hidden war, the lives of Julia, a newly minted Polish activist, Jan, a young Belarusian border guard, and a family of Syrian refugees are intertwined.

This is a fictional story based on the real facts of Belarus' migration pressure on the European Union. However, the scriptwriters researched the crisis and interviewed refugees, border guards, and activists to fill the story with real facts from people on different sides of the conflict.

"Persepolis", dir. by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronneau (2007)

An animated adaptation of the graphic memoir by Marjane Satrapi, a French artist of Iranian descent. Using the example of her own family, the author depicts the story of the tumultuous political and social changes that befell Iran in the second half of the 20th century, including the Shah's dictatorship, the Islamic Revolution, and the war with Iraq, which was started by Saddam Hussein.

The main character is a brave and daring girl Marjan, who is a Bruce Lee fan, listens to Bee Gees and Iron Maiden records, and desperately tries to understand the world around her. But it is shrinking and becoming more and more dangerous. Her family and friends are being persecuted, and thousands of people are behind bars. The Western way of life is now declared hostile, the regime of fanatical moralists is putting women in hijabs, and it is becoming very crowded in Iran for those who value freedom. And Marjaneh is exactly the kind of girl who is ready to write "Punk is not ded" on her sweatshirt.

"Flee", dir. by Jonas Poer Rasmussen (2020)

Another animated film became a triumph at the Oscars, receiving three nominations. For the first time in the history of the award, an animated film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature.

"Flee" tells the extraordinarily true story of a man, Amin, who, on the verge of marriage, reveals his hidden past for the first time. He recalls how, as a child, he was forced to flee his mother and brother from his native country, Afghanistan, into the unknown, risking his life. Based on the audio recordings, an animated film was created that depicts the memories and the present.

"This Rain Will Never Stop", dir. by Alina Horlova (2021)

This Ukrainian documentary focuses on 20-year-old Andrii Suleiman, who flees Syria with his parents. However, the war catches up with the protagonist in Ukraine, where he becomes a Red Cross volunteer. After his father dies, Andrii decides to bury his body in his homeland.

Alina Horlova has created a powerful and visually fascinating journey through the endless human cycle of war and peace. For this, the film won Best Feature at the Festival dei Popoli Documentary Film Festival (2020) and received the IDFA award for Best Feature in the First Appearance section.

"Limbo", dir. Ben Sharrock (2020)

Not only dramas. Director Ben Sharrock has wrapped a story that touches on refugee issues in a funny and poignant intercultural satire. The film subtly combines the difficulties and hope of the refugee experience.

The main character Omar is a promising young musician. Separated from his Syrian family, he is stranded on a remote Scottish island waiting for a response to his asylum application. The film reflects on the experience of a refugee on a remote Scottish island, where the Wes Anderson-style landscapes serve as a metaphor for the new and the dangerous.

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