October 2014, arsenal cinema

Re:fuge! Zu:flucht! Four Days of Films about Migration and Escape

HARRAGAS, 2009

Refugees make their way to Europe every day. In crowded, often hardly seaworthy boats, they try to make the journey across the water, with countless people dying during the dangerous passage. In the meantime, the EU is sealing off its borders more and more effectively. Drawing on the latest technology, Europe watches over the Mediterranean region with drones and satellites with the help of the Eurosur program – border protection is being further expanded and partially farmed out to North Africa. Although the tragedies of sunken refugee ships such as the one before Lampedusa in October 2013 do at least make the headlines for a short time and generate awareness, political responses and humanitarian solutions have thus far failed to appear. An important reform of EU refugee policy with a central focus on the "responsibility to protect" and human rights still remains far away from this "space of freedom, security and justice". We need images that begin beyond the sea, images that take a look at the centrifugal forces of armed conflict, at places of transit and at the companions in fate brought together by such processes. Narrations that report on the borders before Europe and question why people set out to breach them. Films about people, goals and hopes, about day-to-day realities in European cities, about the heroes of the monotonous everyday and about flights embarked on in handcuffs. With four days of films about migration and escape from October 6 to 9 at the Arsenal cinema and a panel discussion about humane European refugee policy on October 9 at the Heinrich Böll Foundation offices, the Heinrich Böll Foundation takes a differentiated look at the realities and spaces both this side and the other side of the shared sea.

HARRAGAS (Merzak Allouache, Algeria 2009, 6.10., screening attended by Merzak Allouache) "Harragas" is the name given to those in Algeria who attempt to "illegally" migrate to Europe from Africa or the Maghreb countries.  Rachid, Nasser and Imene make up three of their number. They club together to pay human trafficker Hassan, who is supposed to take them to Spain in his fragile boat. An odyssey full of danger begins...

FREMD (Miriam Faßbender, Germany 2011, 7.10., screening attended by Miriam Faßbender) describes how a young man from Mali sets out for Europe out of sheer desperation. For the last two years, he has been on the road in a world he never wanted to live in. The film searches for the motives behind this flight and provides insight into the living circumstances and the grueling everyday existence of migrants on their way from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe via Algeria and Morocco.

NOT WHO WE ARE(Carol Mansour, Lebanon 2013,7.10., screening attend by Carol Mansour) How do you make plans for the future when you don’t even have fixed accommodation? In NOT WHO WE ARE, women who have fled to Lebanon from Syria talk about what moves them in exile: Samar, who wanted to send her daughter to university and is now marrying her off as a teenager, Um Raed and Um Ahmad, who just manage to make ends meet in the Beqaa Valley border region between Syria and Lebanon, and Siham, who is mourning her husband.

IMAGINING EMANUEL (Thomas A. Østbye, Norway 2011, 8.10.) Emanuel was born in Liberia and came to Norway as a refugee from the civil war. He applied for asylum in 2003, which he was refused based on the fact that no one believed his story. IMAGINING EMANUEL takes this disbelief as its starting point; the refusal to believe someone's story.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN (Zakaria Mohamed Ali, Italy 2012, 8.10., screening attended by Za-karia Mohamed Ali) A return to Lampedusa. After landing there in 2008, young Somali journalist Zakaria Mohamed Ali returns to the island in summer 2012: an opportunity to remember his stay in the CIE (Identification and Deportation Center) and to set out in search of lost memories.

LITTLE ALIEN (Nina Kusturica, Austria 2009, 8.10., screening attended by Nina Kusturica (tbc)) Juma and Hishame attempt to flee to Europe in the undercarriage of a truck, where they become hunted by the border authorities. Ahmed, Nura, Achmad and Asha have just managed to get over the border fences. Having arrived in Austria, they try to get their lives on track. They are all loud, cheeky teenagers in love and fighting for a life of self-determination.

CAN'T BE SILENT(Julia Oelkers, Germany 2013, 9.10., only for school classes who have booked in advance, screening attended by Julia Oelkers) They have arrived and yet are still on the run. They are singers, musicians, rappers and yet they are excluded and deported. Nuri (Dagestan), Jacques (Ivory Coast), Hosain (Afghanistan), Sam (Gambia) und Revelino (Ivory Coast) live in different refugee homes in Germany. Together with the "Strom und Wasser" combo, they set out on a tour of Germany. 

HOW MUCH FURTHER (European Council on Refugees and Exiles, Belgium/Greece 2012, 9.10., at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8) After being on the road for months or even years, refugees arrive in Greece, whose population sees itself as being subjected to the full force of the economic crisis and whose asylum and registration system is totally dysfunctional. (kma)

An event by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.