Forum for Languages and Cultures

Block Cinema

Spring 2016 - Forum Film Series at the Block  Contemporary Migrations: Destination Europe

The global refugee crisis Europe is a hot topic these days. The films Mediterranea, Buen día, Ramón, and Welcome tell stories of the recent wave of migration from all parts of the world to Europe and the reactions of Europeans to the arrival of refugees and migrants. Filmed in multiple languages and using both fictional and documentary styles, these films follow migrants as they move through numerous countries, facing multiple linguistic and cultural challenges. Collectively the films bring to the fore questions of who is a migrant, who is a refugee and what are our responsibilities as we learn about the underlying persecution, torture and violence that prompted their journeys to Europe. 

This series is co-organized by the Forum for Languages and Cultures and the Center for Forced Migration Studies and is co-sponsored by the departments of French and Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese and the International Studies Program and Block Cinema.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016  Mediterranea, directed by Jonas Carpignano,2015. 107 minutes.

Where “Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry in the U.S., Jonas Carpignano’s sharply crafted “Mediterranea” voices a counterpart for African immigrants in southern Italy: “Stop shooting blacks!” That chant emerges at the dramatic apex of the multi-nationally funded feature, which otherwise offers a deliberately muted, finely textured account of the ordeals many Africans endure both before and after voyages to Europe in search of better lives.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Buen día, Ramón, directed by Jorge Ramírez Suárez, 2013.  120 minutes.

A beloved box office hit in Mexico, BUEN DÍA, RAMÓN (GOOD DAY, RAMON) tells the heartwarming story of a young man from a small Mexican town who travels to Germany to find work to support his family and becomes stranded without shelter or money. He struggles to survive on the streets until he meets Ruth, a lonely senior citizen with whom he develops an astonishing and touching friendship that transcends borders and prejudices. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016  Welcome, directed by Philippe Lioret, 2009. 110 minutes.

Philippe Lioret’s 2009 film Welcome is “a compelling social drama” about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers who arrive illegally in Calais, a city in northern France that has become a transit point for those hoping to cross into the United Kingdom. In the course of its gripping story line and realistic camera work, Welcome powerfully dispels the fantasy of a hospitable Europe which welcomes the displaced with open arms. Instead, it captures disturbing scenes of xenophobia, police brutality, and racial intolerance. 17-year-old Bilal has spent the last three months travelling illegally across Europe from Iraq, in an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend Mina who has moved with her family to England. The long journey is almost over when he finally reaches Calais; he can literally see his destination from across the Channel. But with all legal options exhausted, Bilal resolves that his only option is to learn to swim, and make the dangerous crossing himself. Bilal seeks the help of middle-aged swimming instructor who is privately reeling from impending divorce from his socially-conscious wife Marion. In an effort to win her back, Simon impulsively - and uncharacteristically - risks everything by taking Bilal under his wing.