Amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis refugees have been trying to flee from the war-torn countries to their respective native countries. There have been many films made where war has been shown or stories where the backdrop is that of a war, but there are very few good films that have been made on the refugees. Chalking through international cinema, here are a few films that have depicted the plight of refugees very well:
‘Turtles Can Fly’ (2004)
Residents at a Kurdish refugee camp in 2003 await the United States' invasion of Iraq, hopeful for Saddam's fall but expecting a violent aftermath. Satellite (Soran Ebrahim) gathers minors into labour gangs who disarm and sell land mines to weapons merchants. Satellite falls in love with Agrin (Avaz Latif), who arrives in the camp with his one-armed brother Hengov (Hiresh Feysal Rahman) and his newborn brother Riga (Abdol Rahman Karim). As the assault begins, Satellite searches for a satellite dish so that the camp may watch the battle.
‘Human Flow’ (2017)
This video, shot in 23 countries by international artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, takes an apolitical look at the worldwide subject of migration. Rather, it seeks to highlight the human aspect of the phenomena, putting a face to the massive numbers participating in migratory routes each year.
‘Sky And Ground’ (2018)
Following the hard journey of the Syrian-Kurdish Nabi family from Aleppo to Germany, this film powerfully depicts the struggles of one three-generation family while also immersing us in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
This moving documentary provides an unvarnished look at the hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers detained offshore by the Australian Federal Government on Manus Island. This multi-award-winning documentary focuses extremely intimately on the characters, allowing us to hear their experiences firsthand, thanks to the starkness of its black and white pictures.
‘Midnight Traveller’ (2019)
You can't help but cry while watching this touching family drama. Using just his smartphone, filmmaker Hassan Fazili captured his family's journey to seek refuge in Europe after fleeing Afghanistan in 2015. It's an incredibly poignant narrative of how strength, optimism, and family love can triumph against violence and bigotry.
‘For Sama’ (2019)
BAFTA-winning self-shot, personal, and intense documentary For Sama, parenting is a journey through the Syrian Civil War bombardment. Waad al-debut Kateab's feature documentary is about love, resilience, and optimism, yet it is framed by hardship and difficult decisions.
‘A Road To Oxford’ (2020)
Rawan, an English literature teacher, has found a new home in Oxford, UK, after fleeing Syria in 2018. He walks us across the city in this short film, reflecting on the physical and emotional journey that got him there.
Many asylum-seeking children and young people arrive in the United Kingdom with no family to assist them. After enduring unspeakable ordeals to come here, their long journey is far from complete. This new video created by The Children's Society's young campaigners follows an amazing group of young people who have faced similar problems and are using their voices to advocate for other young people. The short video follows the group as they go to Glasgow to study the guardianship system and advocate for increased help for unaccompanied youngsters in England and Wales.
A beautifully touching narrative about a group of asylum applicants who are waiting for their results on a fictitious isolated Scottish island. Among them is Omar, a young Syrian musician who has been burdened by the weight of his grandfather's oud, which he has carried all the way from Syria. It was directed by Ben Shamrock and garnered several honours, including a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding British Film.