In this world
IF YOU want to know exactly how it feels to risk your life to try to find a better future, then make sure you go and see In this World. It is a powerful and moving film unashamedly on the side of those fleeing persecution and poverty.
The film takes you on the journey of two Afghan boys, 16 year old Jamal and his older cousin Enayatullah, from a refugee camp in Pakistan to London. Filmed with hand-held digital cameras, the film makes you feel you have accompanied the cousins on their hazardous journey through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Italy and on to the Red Cross camp at Sangatte in France. You really feel you have lived through the fear, bewilderment and boredom Jamal and Enayatullah experience.
They travel through harsh terrain in ramshackle buses, on the back of lorries, cramped under a cargo of orange cases. Along the way they are exploited by people-traders making a living through others' misery. But poor villagers and fellow refugees help them. There is an incredible scene, filmed at night, when the two are helped over snowbound mountains by Kurdish villagers.
But most unforgettable are the harrowing scenes showing the refugees entombed in a freight container on a 40-hour ferry journey from Turkey to Italy. These scenes will stay with me for a long time. So too will the tenderness and solidarity the cousins show each other and other refugees.
The film becomes even more powerful when you realise that Jamal and Enayatullah, and many others in the film, are more or less playing themselves. After making the film Jamal returned to London to apply for asylum. He has been allowed to stay - but only until he is 18, when the immigration authorities want to kick him out.
You can't watch this film without being moved and understanding more about the experience millions fleeing wars and economic hardship face. No matter how busy you are in the coming weeks, make seeing it a priority.