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Migration

For World Refugee Day we have selected films that deal with migration from different perspectives.

Alive (2009)
Artan Minarolli
Albania
90′
Twenty-two-year-old Koli is studying at Tirana university. When he hears of his father’s death, he returns to his native mountain village in the north to attend the funeral. During a walk through the countryside of his childhood, someone takes a shot at him. In a state of shock, the young man discovers that he is part of a blood feud sparked by his grandfather sixty years earlier. He goes to see the family to whom, according to custom, he owes his life - and, in doing so, he makes the acquaintance of the murderer whom fate has determined will take it. Away from his modern urban environment, Koli suddenly finds himself in a world of ancient, inexorable rituals, from which he is unable to extricate himself even after his return to Tirana. How deeply entrenched in people are the traditions of their forebears? And to what extent are they able to accept them as part of their modern, superficial lifestyle? How far-reaching is the perception of one’s own destiny and affinity with one’s roots? Director Artan Minarolli dedicated his film drama to the eighty-six illegal immigrants who drowned off the coast of Italy during an attempt to flee their native country in March 1997.
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The suspended step of the stork (1991)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
136′
While working on a story in the border area, a young journalist discovers a divided town bisected by a river which is also the national frontier. He observes a surreal wedding in which the bride and her family stand on one shore and the groom and his relatives on the other, lost under a cold sky: figure in a landscape who only delude themselves that they are masters of the earth and their destiny The town, a remote ghost town, almost forgotten at the end of the world, has been named «waiting room» by the locals because most of its inhabitants are refugees from different countries many of whom have crossed the border illegally at some time or other and are now waiting for their turn to leave and start life anew «somewhere else.» In the course of his investigation he also comes upon an aging, reclusive refugee, who lives there cultivating a field. But the young journalist believes he is a famous Greek politician who disappeared years before, leaving behind him many unanswered questions. The man's identity is never resolved but the hapless refugees and divided village allow the reporter to understand his despair over the human condition. Theo Angelopoulos weaves yet another poetical allegory on the great open questions of our turbulent age. The film is very contemporary in its treatment of borders, refugees and a changing world since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. «Being a refugee is an internal condition more than an external one, says one of the characters in the film. And later on he also says, «We've passed the borders but we're still here. How many frontiers do we have to pass to get home?» Do politicians really care? Does anyone? Finally, there is the image of the stranger standing on the bridge poised over the dividing line between the two countries. He has one leg suspended in mid air, like a stork. «If I take one more step I am... somewhere else, or... I die.»
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Herencia (2001)
Paula Hernández
Argentina
92′
Peter travels from Germany to Buenos Aires to find the woman he fell head over heels in love with some time ago and who wants to live with. But he doesn't know much more about her than her name, an address that is no longer true, and the memory of enchanting moments. He meets Olinda, who runs a local restaurant and was herself stranded in Argentina half a century ago in search of her great love.
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Teza (2008)
Haile Gerima
Ethiopia
133′
Anberber has studied in Germany and returns post-graduate to Ethiopia. He is full of hope that he can support his country with his newly acquired knowledge. It's a story about hope and disillusionment, about foreignness and homeland.
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