The Refugee Experience in Contemporary Cinema

By: Eugenia Charoni  

People leave their countries to escape social, political and/or religious persecution. Being accepted by another country as refugees depends on governmental and social mechanisms that offer necessary support for housing, employment, healthcare and education. Refugees’ stories, governmental programs and local authorities’ initiatives have been shared abundantly in cinematography that, in the last years due to the unprecedented refugee wave, has been especially prolific. This presentation comments on the refugee experience, the governmental and social mechanisms and the human rights as depicted in the following documentaries: Stranger in paradise (Guido Hendrikx, 2016), The resettled (Tzu Chi USA, 2016,) and The land between (David Fedele, 2014). In Stranger of paradise, a Dutch production shot in Italy, the refugee drama is approached from a humane, aggressive right-wing and liberal perspective to illustrate the cruel reality yet to be handled. In the American production of The resettled, refugees share their stories and effort to integrate, while system and community debate the feasibility of resettling programs and humanitarian initiatives. In The land between the Australian producer David Fedele pictures the reality of African refugees who, restricted by the local authorities in the mountains of North Morocco, realize that the dream for a better life is crushed by the cruel circumstances. Adversary social and political conditions in countries that receive refugees in addition to the refugee’s difficulties to integrate with the new environment, result to misinterpretation and rejection of the Other, an ongoing problem that jeopardizes the human race’s integrity and our world’s balance.

Refugee, Cinema, Other
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Eugenia Charoni

Assistant Professor of Romance Languages