Five movies about migration

Migration is a topic that is treated like an open book within society, but is often repressed in the depths of the subconscious of the individual. Our author presents 5 films on the topic. Do you know any films on the topic? Write them in the comments!

eingeschalteter LED Projektor auf einem Tisch
Fotograf*in: Alex Litvin auf unsplash

There is a need to create a memory to retrieve the topic of migration from the depths of the subconscious. Especially in relation to press reports that reflect illegal pushbacks and personal destinies, there needs to be an important medium that addresses this in a different way. Migration is too far away from one’s own perception as a non-affected person. It needs to be framed in a way one can actually perceive. Often people can identify more easily with media such as films that show personal fates.

How longing for a ship can be the start of a new journey

It is a voyage into the unknown: the “Flotel Europa” should have been a new home for a child and family. It would be easy to think that this would be a normal und uplifting movie. This is not the case.

Taking a deeper dive, the protagonists’ issue as people with a migration background is apparent. In this movie the protagonists mostly relate the role of Yugoslavian refugees und their experience of migration in coming to Germany in the early 90s. Life took place mostly in accommodations such as this ship. There it was often dark and windowless. Community kitchens determined everyday life. Director Vladimir Tomic uses this film as a autobiographical vehicle. It was reconstructed on the basis of the representation of a stolen childhood and „refugee misery“.

How children experience changes between one place and another

That place is simultaneously associative in nature while partially corresponding to the truth. The movie „La nuit et l’enfant” by director David Yon  speaks to a ever-present threat and danger. It focuses on the facets and backgrounds of a generation of youth that spends their time coming of age in the region of Dielfa, subjected to terrorist threats.

The youth of this region perceive this as such: they internalise that terrorism is just a form of radical change in their lives. Before terrorism life was peaceful and free according to the protagonists. In its core the film describes the part of a youth that need to set boundaries and find their own identities.

How flight away from the home country can have an impact as protest

Three young people (Mayga from Mali, Elias from Ghana and Abidal from Burkina Faso) find themselves transported far from their homes to a Berlin winter in the movie “Escape from my eyes”. While fictitious, the movie is based on real reports and basic papers.

Director Felipe Bragança made these on the basis of an exchange with refugees from a refugee camp on Oranienplatz Berlin. This exchange happened on the base of the artists’ association DAAD. He mainly focused on interviewing refugees fleeing war und political persecution.

Lebanon as a place of refuge

A film crew visits a Syrian refugee camp. Everyday life situations like hiding from war and children playing hide and seek are being shown. Contradictions arise as different worlds collide in one place.

The movie „El Juego del Escondite” by director David Muñoz centers the meeting of reality, fiction and cinematic process. Reality is a situation only extracted from truth directly intended for the movie. The film is expected by the viewer to put events in a certain order. But the film wants to see itself as the only truth.

A Hotline as a helpline for refugees

Any given day and hour, the women of „Hotline“ are out and about helping refugees in Israel who need help organizing papers or are considered illegal immigrants. The camera is right in the middle of the action. The film shows the perspective of an activist who stands up for the arriving refugees from Eritrea and Sudan and encounters vehement resistance in the process.

She hast to assert herself against many opponents such as prisons, human traffickers and other adversaries. Director Salvina Landsmann takes the audience to different places: offices, courts and Israeli parliament (the Knesset). It becomes obvious what is essential to the fight for human rights: talking, mobilising, documenting and convincing.


This article was first published in German



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Jannik studiert seit 2019 Politikwissenschaften im Bachelor an der Uni Hamburg. Seit November 2022 ist er als journalistischer Praktikant bei kohero. „Ich interessiere mich vor allem für interkulturelle Begegnungen, Flucht und Migrationsgeschichten.“

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