I shock my friends usually twice. Once when I tell them what movies I have not seen and that I do not even have the intention to work on my shortcomings. To give you and idea about the level of my unculturedness – I have never seen Star Wars. Then they look at me strangely again when I tell them what kind of movies I do enjoy watching. Like recently when I attended a French film festival and spent the week watching stories that would break the heart of even the less sensitive ones – assuming that they ever hear about these stories!
One of the movies that most stayed with me was ‘Hope’ directed by Boris Lojkine, screened at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The story of a young man and a woman who are desperate to leave Africa and start anew in Europe. Strangers at the beginning, lovers by the end. The difficulties they had to go through during their journey are real and happen daily with thousands of refugees on the borders of Europe. Seeing their story you would like to think that this cannot be true, this is more than one can endure, this must be just claptrap. But the thing is that not having the information on our doorstep does not mean that the issues do not exist. We can hear stories about refugees every day in the news but even the most emphatic reports focus only on the issues we Europeans have to face because of the refugees. They hardly talk about what refugees have experienced by the time they reached the gates of our continent. That is a mistake I believe because the more people see the human side of these reports the bigger the chance would be to tackle certain issues, misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding immigration and refugees.
The other film that would be worth to spread widely was ‘Girafada’ by Rani Massalha from 2013. Through the life of the veterinarian Yacin (Saleh Bakri) and his son Ziad (Ahmad Bayatra) we look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One innocent boy’s wish to save the only remaining giraffe of Palestine’s only remaining zoo leads to father and son losing each other. Despite the tragic end the film is beautiful and shows a side of Palestine that many deny to exist.
These are the movies I watch and that I would like to see more often and not only on festivals. The more information we have the earlier we will come to our senses and initiate changes in ways of thinking and living.