Stranger in paradise

by Guido Hendrikx

Contemporary Lives

(Paesi Bassi / 2016 / 72’)

Three groups of migrants just arrived in the Netherlands are "interviewed" by actor Valentijn Dhaenens, who is impersonating a social worker. He explains to the first group how much they’re costing Europe, the risks they bring and why Europeans do not want them. To the second, an idyllic picture is painted in which they will be welcomed with open arms and fulfil their dreams. The third group is asked bureaucratic questions, following the set procedures for the right to asylum. Three approaches, a mirror of our failed responses in the face of human despair: rejection, idealism, indifference. The protagonists are real refugees, their terrible stories are also true. A cruel experiment? Not cruel as the reality.

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