The last few years have seen waves of migration into Europe by Africans fleeing all sorts of conditions in their home countries. It’s one thing to read the accounts of people who have been rescued from the waves, another to watch their lives on screen.
‘Hope’ a 2015 film by Boris Lojkine, does a brilliant job of cataloguing all the things immigrants have to go through without weighing the viewer down with misery. It traces the route of two migrants, Leonard and Hope who try to navigate their way through the Sahara to Europe, the promised land.
In a journey marked by harsh weather, sexism, racism, and token anti-African sentiments among groups of Africans, one sees just what those that wash up at places like Lampedusa have to endure as they make their way there.
But as I said: no misery. The pair are fantastic at creating unique, beautiful experiences for themselves along the trip. There’s as much sex as you would expect in a French film, but also a lot of pragmatic interactions, highlighting the dilemmas they find themselves in.
Watching it at Alliance was an interesting experience and I’m curious to find out what the demographic that would take the risk of a journey like that would make of it. If life is so tough, the film asks us, what option does one have but to take the chance at a different ending? Watch it and revel in the beautiful shots, the vast landscapes, the storytelling.