Fri 24/03/2023 - 16:50

A bit over a week ago, the 95th ceremony of the Oscars saw ‘’Everything Everywhere All at Once’’ win several Oscars. After being awarded an Oscar for “Best Supporting Role”, Ke Huy Quan started his speech with the following powerful words: 

“My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage.” 

Quan fled Vietnam with his father and siblings to Hong Kong in 1978, when he was just eight years old. There, he spent a year living in a refugee camp, before being resettled to the United States as part of a Refugee Resettlement Programme.

While this movie does not specifically address the theme of refugees, there are many movies that do, and have been largely praised by the public. Here is a list of a few of them worth watching. 

1. The Good Lie 

Based on the true story of a group of Sudanese refugees who are resettled in the United States, the movie follows their struggles as they try to adjust to their new life, find jobs, and overcome cultural differences. The bond between the refugees and their American job counselor, who helps them navigate their new surroundings depicts how receiving kindness is also an accelerator of integration.  

Resilience, hope, and the challenges faced by refugees as they try to rebuild their lives in a new country are at the center of this movie. 

2. The Swimmers 

Based on a true story, the movie retraces UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Yusra Mardini’s way to the Olympics. Yusra and Sara Mardini were forced to flee Syria because of the ongoing conflict. The two sisters took on the perilous journey to safety through the Aegean Sea. Both trained swimmers, they carried the boat for kilometers as it was leaking, and threatening to sink.  

Upon her arrival in Europe, Yusra started to swim again, and her journey led her to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. 

3. The Kite Runner 

Based on the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini, the movie follows the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, Afghanistan, who becomes a refugee after the Soviet invasion. As an adult, he returns to Afghanistan to make amends with his childhood friend Hassan, who he betrayed years earlier. The film explores themes of friendship, betrayal, redemption, and the impact of war and violence on ordinary people. 

4. Hotel Rwanda 

The 2004 drama film tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who risked his own life to save refugees during the Rwandan genocide. During the brutal violence and atrocities that took place during the genocide, Rusesabagina used his position and diplomatic skills to protect over a thousand people. The film also highlights the lack of intervention from the international community during the crisis.  

5. Human Flow 

What unites people seeking asylum in different parts of the world? The documentary directed by artist and activist Ai Weiwei covers the experiences of refugees from over 23 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and shows the hardships they face while seeking asylum in other countries. The film also highlights the role of governments and international organizations in managing the crisis, as well as the impact of migration on both refugees and the countries they leave and arrive in. Overall, the film portrays the human cost of the refugee crisis and the urgent need for action. 

6. Bazigaga 

As a child, Jo Ingabire Moys witnessed the brutal murder of her family in Rwanda. Thirty years on, her BAFTA-nominated film Bazigaga represents her trauma, telling the story of two refugees who flee the genocide. The film follows Karembe, a Tutsi pastor, and his young daughter. They are forced to seek refuge with a Hutu shaman named Bazigaga, who is inspired by a real Hutu woman named Zura Karuhimbi who saved more than 100 people.

7. The Other Side of Hope

The comedy-drama film tells the story of a Syrian refugee who arrives in Helsinki and forms an unlikely friendship with a local restaurant owner. The movie shows the challenges the refugee faces in adjusting to life in a new country. This heartwarming yet thought-provoking movie highlights the importance of compassion, understanding, and connection in a world where people often feel isolated and alone.