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Young British writer, director and editor Sharon Walia grabs a couple of cameras and an intense desire for social justice as she documents efforts to help migrants attempting to enter Europe from Africa, the Middle East and other troubled, impoverished regions further afield. Plainly, this film has been made on the tiniest sliver of a budget, which unfortunately means that, at least for the cut I saw, Walia has been seemingly forced to recycle the same plaintive bit of synthesised sad music dozens of times. But the film is practically criticism-proof because it was crafted with a fierce commitment to truth-telling, entirely righteous fury at the appalling abuse of refugees and an ambition to help somehow.
Although Walia interviews several representatives of NGOs dedicated to refugee relief – some of whom she gives a properly tough time about the system’s failings – for the most part the focus is on young volunteers, grassroots activists and the dispossessed themselves. Brendan Woodhouse, for instance, is a Nottingham firefighter who helps on boats that scour the Mediterranean looking for rafts and flimsy inflatables that have set out from Libya, packed practically to the point of sinking with migrants. The stories they bear are harrowing litanies, detailing atrocities witnessed, experienced and fled. In Paris, a few Brits living in a squatted warehouse distribute essentials to homeless refugees living on the streets – one woman, Rosie Browning, gave up working at Givenchy and studying fashion in order to do this, choosing altruism over the making of more “stupid art bullshit”.
All of the young people interviewed are similarly feisty, smart and articulate, as are the refugees themselves who explain how absurd bureaucratic obstacles prevent them from finding legal ways of bringing the loved ones left behind to the west. It’s a subject that becomes increasingly relevant every week, and there is a sliver of hope to be found here in seeing others willing to sacrifice their time, comfort and mental ease to help in this growing movement.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Movement review – fiercely committed migration documentary | Documentary films