DIRECTED BY: KAROLINA MARKIEWICZ & PASCAL PIRON
Review by- Michael Lee
Shipped, boxed, and carried off, in trucks and trailers across sea and land in the dead of night, only to wake up in the blinding sun of strange lands. This is only the beginning for some of these refugees. Strangers in strange lands. Stick thin, hungry, tired. But these are the lucky ones, word is the other truck drained of oxygen before it got to Luxembourg.
Deportation is an imminent threat. It’s a harrowing, tooth and nail existence, a seemingly constant uphill battle. Near stripped of hope, living in constant fear for tomorrow, working for better futures; but not knowing if the ground beneath their feet will even be there in the morning.
Yunus, Anna, Rijad, Dzemil, Milena and Eko, openly share their individual experiences. Having each respectively travelled from Afghanistan, Syria, Kosovo, and Montenegro. Their perilous experiences have carved out an early maturity. Bestowing children with immeasurable responsibility for the lives of adults, translating for parents, neighbours, even strangers, negotiating with authorities in a bid for asylum. The piercing honesty of their experiences purges any myths or clichés regarding the refugee issue, an issue that’s all too often, heavily laden in misconceptions.
The documentary is intricately laced with potent imagery, which weaves its way through the individual accounts, graphically triggering the nail biting reality. Torches or spotlights, dance across a blackened sky and a whitewash of choppy waves. The pale beams, like long fingers searchingly combing for bodies. Pacing through darkened woodland, and blurred city lights, we’re elevated to a nauseating sense of unease and terror. Through the variety of individual stories we’re given a sense of both the scale and geography of the issue. The decayed, slanted buildings, broken tiles, the impoverished slums of Montenegro, built up like a layer of dirt on the skin, covering the city; the poisonous aroma of dust and grease that probably hovers in the air. It easy to understand wanting to leave, or the fear of being forced to return against your will.
Through this cinematic tapestry of personal stories, we’re given an enriched understanding of the European refugee crisis. An issue which in all truth has ballooned in the last year with the Syrian Refugee crisis, becoming a much more pressing issue now, than ever before in recent history.