June 20th until June 26th is Refugee Week. There are now frequent filmic essays on the large numbers of people fleeing violence and/or seeking a better life. Only a select few actually enjoy distribution and exhibition in the UK. Have a look on YouTube for an idea of the rich variety. But the Hyde Park Picture House has regularly featured important and often moving films about this major and controversial issue. And we have three coming up over the next couple of weeks.
(UK France, Lebanon, Syria 2016 – in English, Arabic and French) is a film by British documentaries Sean McAllister. It follows the story an journey of two Syrian refugees, Raghda and Amer, from their war-torn country to Europe. The travails of their journey are followed by the travails on arrival. The screening also includes is the short animated film Miniyamba (2012, in Bambara and French) featuring indigenous music. This is a film from the Danish Film Institute following a young man from Mali as he attempts to journey to Europe.
From Friday 24th June:
Fuocoammare (Italy / France 2016 – in Italian and English) directed by Gianfranco Rosi is set on the now well-known island of Lampedusa. The film uses 12 year old local lad Samuele to explore the situation of a small community and the hundreds of migrants who have landed there. The situation is explored with little comment or commentary: the picture presents itself.
From Friday July 1st:
(USA 2016 – in English, seven European languages and Arabic) is full of comment, by veteran filmmaker and polemicist Michael Moore. Moore does not fit most definitions of refugee. However his home USA bears much responsibility for the many concurrent crises of refugees. So Moore ‘flees’ his homeland to offer a somewhat idealised representation of continental Europe and virtues that the USA might copy. However, he does not offer any to be found in the UK, the junior partner in so many US imperial adventures. That absence speaks volumes.