Another multinational production – even Qatar gets a look in on this one – but I think it would be classified as Italian. It’s about Africans looking for a better life in Europe, though, so you feel as if you have been immersed in a melting pot of cultures, all looking for something better.
At the core of the movie are Ayiva and Abas from Burkina Faso. They are in Algeria, involved in the constant trade of people wanting to leave the shores to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Ayiva sends money home to his sister and daughter, Abas, you can see, is younger and full of a fire to have more. When they are asked to help a group get to Tripoli, they take the chance to go too, aiming for Italy and the dream of something that must be better than what they have.
Of course their journey is perilous and they seem to arrive at each new place and face the same problems – poverty, displacement, being an outsider, not being home. There is not much resolution in this film, we follow and observe, seeing the hardship but also the moments of connection. We see that Ayiva and Abas symbolise two ideals in the search for a better life. For Ayiva it is to provide greater safety and a future for his family, for Abas it’s because he knows he deserves all of the opportunities given to everyone else. Each seem just as elusive.
This is a sobering film because you know that this is not something historical, it is being played out right now. Going home after the film, I read about the 7,000 people sleeping on beaches in Kos and a boatload just rescued off Italy but with many suspected lost at sea. I don’t know what the solution is, and this film shows that perhaps there is none, it is just a part of the ongoing inequity and tragedy of our world.