Since civil war started in Syria in 2011, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes, half of them children. These children have fled unimaginable horror: the indiscriminate ...
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Since civil war started in Syria in 2011, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes, half of them children. These children have fled unimaginable horror: the indiscriminate bombings of Bachar Al Assad's government, and ISIS' raping and beheading, only to find themselves trapped in makeshift camps or closed borders. We witness the journey of these refugees to the promised land of Europe.
I saw this documentary at its world premiere at SEFF'16 (Sevilla Film Festival), and while I enjoyed it, enjoy is not a verb that can really be used when describing the experience of watching a film that deals with the greatest humanitarian disaster of this century. I haven't seen Hernán Zin's previous documentary, Nacido en Gaza, which also deals with another conflict from the point of view of children, but i have seen Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), another documentary that depicts the same humanitarian catastrophe and that I found compelling and exasperating in equal parts. 'Nacido' compares favorably with 'Fire', giving voice to 7 children in different stops along the exodus path from Syria to Europe. The children are shown but they usually never talk to the camera, we just hear their voices. While I respect this choice, sometimes it feels like the children might be reading a script and takes away from the authenticity of a child speaking to camera. We get to see images of refugees and camps daily on the news, but what this film offers is what we lack in the news. instead of a reporter showing us what's happening in a few seconds, maybe minutes, we get to see and hear what the refugees see and hear. The small minutiae of their journey, but also the frustrations when they arrive in Europe and realize that life is not going to be easy and that another journey begins, be it renting an apartment or simply trying to reunite with the rest of their family. We also get to hear what the politicians have to say about this catastrophe and how it affects the migrants. It seems like the Syrian war aftermath has become a moral thermometer for Europe, with many countries taking off their masks. We usually blame politicians, but the moral decay some of them show is just a reflection of the great moral decay of a big part of the population in Europe. This is urgent, necessary cinema. In a better world, this kind of 'movie' should be grossing millions instead of being relegated to film festivals and art houses. While this film has already been bought by 24 countries, it will probably be released in just a few screens and sell maybe a few thousand tickets. Hopefully it will end up on Netflix.
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