Migration

For World Refugee Day we have selected films that deal with migration from different perspectives.

Atlantic (2019)
Mati Diop
Senegal
105′
Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hope of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.
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Les Misérables (2019)
Ladj Ly
France
104′
Inspired by the 2005 riots in Paris, Stéphane, a recent transplant to the impoverished suburb of Montfermeil, joins the local anti-crime squad. Working alongside his unscrupulous colleagues Chris and Gwada, Stéphane struggles to maintain order amidst the mounting tensions between local gangs. When an arrest turns unexpectedly violent, the three officers must reckon with the aftermath and keep the neighbourhood from spiralling out of control.
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Transit (2018)
Christian Petzold
Germany
101′
The German troops are just outside Paris. Georg escapes to Marseille at the last moment. His luggage contains the legacy of a writer named Weidel, who took his own life out of fear of persecution. This legacy comprises a manuscript, some letters and the Mexican Embassy’s assurance of a visa. Only those who can prove that they will leave are allowed in this port town, and this means you need an entry permit from a potential host country. Assuming the identity of Weidel, Georg tries to obtain one of the few scarce passages on a ship. Talks between refugees take place in the corridors of his small hotel, the waiting rooms of consulates, and the cafés and bars down at the harbour. Georg befriends Driss, the son of his late comrade Heinz, who died whilst trying to flee. But when he meets the mysterious Marie, his plans change. Transit is based on Anna Seghers’ eponymous novel which she wrote in exile. The film is set in contemporary Marseille where these characters from the past move around. And so, refugees from back then meet refugees from today, history meets the present, and all of their stories combine to create one eternal transit space.
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Le Havre (2011)
Aki Kaurismäki
France
93′
When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home.
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Alive (2009)
Artan Minarolli
Albania
90′
Twenty-two-year-old Koli is studying at Tirana university. When he hears of his father’s death, he returns to his native mountain village in the north to attend the funeral. During a walk through the countryside of his childhood, someone takes a shot at him. In a state of shock, the young man discovers that he is part of a blood feud sparked by his grandfather sixty years earlier. He goes to see the family to whom, according to custom, he owes his life - and, in doing so, he makes the acquaintance of the murderer whom fate has determined will take it. Away from his modern urban environment, Koli suddenly finds himself in a world of ancient, inexorable rituals, from which he is unable to extricate himself even after his return to Tirana. How deeply entrenched in people are the traditions of their forebears? And to what extent are they able to accept them as part of their modern, superficial lifestyle? How far-reaching is the perception of one’s own destiny and affinity with one’s roots? Director Artan Minarolli dedicated his film drama to the eighty-six illegal immigrants who drowned off the coast of Italy during an attempt to flee their native country in March 1997.
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Teza (2008)
Haile Gerima
Ethiopia
133′
Anberber has studied in Germany and returns post-graduate to Ethiopia. He is full of hope that he can support his country with his newly acquired knowledge. It's a story about hope and disillusionment, about foreignness and homeland.
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The suspended step of the stork (1991)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
136′
While working on a story in the border area, a young journalist discovers a divided town bisected by a river which is also the national frontier. He observes a surreal wedding in which the bride and her family stand on one shore and the groom and his relatives on the other, lost under a cold sky: figure in a landscape who only delude themselves that they are masters of the earth and their destiny The town, a remote ghost town, almost forgotten at the end of the world, has been named «waiting room» by the locals because most of its inhabitants are refugees from different countries many of whom have crossed the border illegally at some time or other and are now waiting for their turn to leave and start life anew «somewhere else.» In the course of his investigation he also comes upon an aging, reclusive refugee, who lives there cultivating a field. But the young journalist believes he is a famous Greek politician who disappeared years before, leaving behind him many unanswered questions. The man's identity is never resolved but the hapless refugees and divided village allow the reporter to understand his despair over the human condition. Theo Angelopoulos weaves yet another poetical allegory on the great open questions of our turbulent age. The film is very contemporary in its treatment of borders, refugees and a changing world since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. «Being a refugee is an internal condition more than an external one, says one of the characters in the film. And later on he also says, «We've passed the borders but we're still here. How many frontiers do we have to pass to get home?» Do politicians really care? Does anyone? Finally, there is the image of the stranger standing on the bridge poised over the dividing line between the two countries. He has one leg suspended in mid air, like a stork. «If I take one more step I am... somewhere else, or... I die.»
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Santiago, Italia (2018)
Nanni Moretti
Italy
80′
Nanni Moretti's new film covers the months that followed the coup d'état in Chile on 11 September 1973, which overthrew the democratic government of Salvador Allende. The film focuses on the role of the Italian embassy in Santiago de Chile, which became a refuge from General Pinochet's regime for hundreds of opposition members. From here, many opponents of the regime were able to flee to Italy.
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Los lobos (2020)
Samuel Kishi Leopo
Mexico
95′
Young brothers Max and Leo dream of going to Disneyland, but having just emigrated from Mexico to the USA they first have to settle in their new homeland. And they have to stick to the seven rules their mother has set down for them.
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Herencia (2001)
Paula Hernández
Argentina
92′
Peter travels from Germany to Buenos Aires to find the woman he fell head over heels in love with some time ago and who wants to live with. But he doesn't know much more about her than her name, an address that is no longer true, and the memory of enchanting moments. He meets Olinda, who runs a local restaurant and was herself stranded in Argentina half a century ago in search of her great love.
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The Charmer (2017)
Milad Alami
Denmark
102′
Esmail, a young and charming Iranian lives in Denmark where he works as a mover. However, in the evening, he frequents the posh places in the city to seduce women, hoping to get married and obtain a residence permit. When he meets Sara, everything changes. On the verge of achieving his goal, he is hunted down by a mysterious man...
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Without Identifying Features - Sin señas particulares (2020)
Fernanda Valadez
Mexico
99′
Magdalena hasn’t heard from her son in months — not since he left their town to cross the border into the United States. The authorities want her to sign her son’s death certificate, but an encounter with a bereaved parent makes Magdalena realize that she cannot live without knowing his fate. She begins an odyssey across Mexico, though areas of violence and desolation, chasing any available lead despite being warned not to publicly ask such questions. Along the way, she meets and travels with recently deported Miguel, who finds himself journeying home through a changed country. Grappling with the painful issue of migrants disappearing on their way to the U.S., writer/director Fernanda Valadez’s ambitious feature debut employs a tremendous economy of film language as it traverses across a varied contemporary Mexican landscape, expanding as our emotional experience of Magdalena’s journey swells to meet her own. The solemn Sin Señas Particulares punctuates its contemplation of family and loss with fleeting moments of human connection, allowing one woman’s aching personal story to encapsulate the weight of a tremendous real-world humanitarian crisis.
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with bonus
Mon cousin anglais (2019)
Karim Sayad
Switzerland
82′
Bonus: BABOR CASANOVA A medium-length documentary by Karim Sayad
STREAMING PREMIERE - starting March 12th 2021 In 2001, Fahed arrived in the UK, his head full of dreams. In 2018, facing a mid-life crisis, he now has a decision to make. Will he continue to buckle down, working 50 hours between the kebab shop and the factory, or will he return to Algeria, a country he fled in the hope of making a better life for himself?
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Au loin des villages (2009)
Olivier Zuchuat
Chad
74′
April 2006. 13000 members of the Dajo ethnic group have taken refuge on the plain of Gouroukoun in eastern Chad. They are all survivors of the Darfur conflict. Secluded in the camp they have constructed, they create their own way of life and means of survival. The filmmaker joins the refugees in this prison without walls, capturing everyday life as it is gradually reembraced.
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Moi et mon blanc (2004)
S. Pierre Yameogo
Burkina Faso
92′
An african student in Paris needs to work by night to finance the rest of his studies. By coincidence he gets a lot of money and turns back home to Burkina Faso with his french friend - but life is not that easy anywhere. Still watching how it is to be a stranger here or there can be quite funny.
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