WHICH WAY HOME?
In recent years, we have consistently dedicated a section of our festival to refugees. The reason is obvious: too many people in the world today are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in adoptive countries. Their journey is plagued by hardship, misfortune and, more often than not, tragedy. Similarly, the emotional process they go through is extremely complex and hardly discussed in the media.
Almost unfailingly, the filmmakers who choose to depict the life-stories of the refugees come to plead for their cause and to use their films as a weapon capable of drawing attention to a crucial issue in today's world, usually minimized by the governments of host-countries. Those who are more inspired, however, make more than just dry militant films — they try to pierce through the protagonists’ intimacy, to transcend, as much as possible, the linguistic and cultural barriers separating them, and to capture as nuanced as possible their condition and experiences.
In this year’s edition of the festival, the section called “Which Way Home?” aims to illustrate all phases of the migration journey, from leaving the country of origin, passing through the transition period while waiting to be granted permission to stay in the host-country, to the eventual exile itself, the strenuous process of adapting to a foreign and often hostile culture. The first phase is captured from the inside in “Midnight Traveler” (Hassan Fazili), through the raw images taken on an iPhone by the filmmaker, who was forced to flee Afghanistan with his family when the Taliban sentenced him to death. The anguish and precariousness of the transition period are at the heart of Rami Farah’s film, “A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy.” A possible ending to this misadventure is offered in the other two films included. “The Country” (Lucien Monot) follows Chady and David, two modern-day sailors, brought together not by wanderlust, but rather by the mirage and necessity of exile. They both travel and work far away from their native land and families, on various ships that sail the seas of Sweden, sharing a common destiny of exile and recognizing in each other the particular reflection of their own inner turmoil. The dialogue between the two female protagonists of “In a Whisper” (Patricia Perez Fernandez and Heidi Hassan) is both essay and journal, an intimate correspondence that unveils, one by one, memories of a sunlit childhood and stories of a new life. From a shared dream, cinema is also broken in two, transposing into two distinct paths with their departure from native Cuba, where both journeys began and the source of all their disillusionment.